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"That 70's Guy" was a column written by our own G.Gone at the request of our good friends at the online Zine Pop-Culture Corn. Unfortunately PCC came to an untimely demise just as they were preparing for their 3rd Birthday. Call it creative differences...we call it a sad loss.

March 2003                                                                      That 70’s Guy
Sleepless In Ticketville?

By G. Gone  

This month's question comes from Ronnie B. in Albany, NY. - Ronnie writes:

Dear That 70’s Guy,

I hear it was a lot easier (and cheaper) to get concert tickets back then, before wristbands (lottery sales), the Internet (online sales), Golden Circle (pre-sales), Ticket Agencies (rigged sales), and Corporate Sponsors (comp tix). Hell, just to get a decent ticket to a concert in my hometown takes a few days of planning, several people, a laptop, a cell phone, and a wait in line to produce (if I’m lucky) anything resembling a good floor seat at a somewhat reasonable price (usually face value plus whatever “service charges” are added in), which I think is pathetic. Can you attest to this?

 Ronnie B.
Albany, NY.

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Actually Ron, it was much simpler, but not much easier. Even without the Internet, there was still Ticketron: the precursor of the Internet. Ticketron was, for all intent and purposes the 70s intranet ticket sales, and people in cities who happened to have a Ticketron outlet (usually found in a Department store like Macy’s), could buy Tickets to concerts in other cities - all for the service fee of $1.00 per ticket. The best part was, that Ticketron was not tied into the box office, so fans at the box office did not have to fight the service for the “best available seats.” Ticketron was limited to the tickets it was given by the venue itself, most of the time only a handful of Floor seats and certain Section seats were taken from the local fans. And, in some instances, Ticketron tickets didn’t go on sale until an hour or more after the box office opened.

I was fortunate to live about a 10-minute drive from the (now defunct) New Haven Coliseum, a major stop in all the tours during the 70s, anybody and everybody that played the arena circuit in the 70s played the New Haven Coliseum. And, like you, it took a few days of planning, several people, sleeping bags, drinking and smoking materials, a portable 8-Track tape player, lots of cash and a wait in line to produce – for the most part – good floor seats
(anything from row 20 in was considered “serious” seats).
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Some of the more memorable moments I have happened by sleeping out for tickets.

When Aerosmith came in '77, a buddy and I slept out for tickets, even though the day they went on sale was the first day of School. We walked into Senior Orientation thirty minutes late. The auditorium grew quite as the Principal, who was on stage addressing the student body, stopped his speech to ask what the reason for our tardiness was. "15th row floor for Aerosmith!" was our reply. That was accompanied by the whoops and hollers of twelve friends, who had entrusted us with their $7.50 per ticket. Detention on the first day of School was worth it. It also gave us a chance to catch up on the sleep we had missed the night before.

Speaking of missing sleep.... My sleep out partner was my good friend John. John and I had sleeping out down to a science. A couple of sleeping bags, a couple of six packs, Schnapps, blankets, and sweatshirts in the winter months, a bong and a bag, and a portable 8-track tape player. Depending on who the band was, we would usually get to the Box Office sometime the afternoon before and set up - there were no wristbands or lottery; 1st come first serve, stake your claim to a place in line and hold it  - this usually put us anywhere from fifth to twentieth in line, which practically would guarantee us floor seats within the first twenty rows. Back in the seventies it pretty much was one whole center row a person for the first thirty or forty people in line, there was no Golden Circle pre-sales, and Ticketron and Radio (pre-corporate) comp tickets were limited to a small number of left and right center floor seats and some down close side section seats. The scalpers (today’s Ticket agencies) had to work the sleep out line along with everybody else – this didn’t stop them, but it did limit them. After that it was wide open, you never knew what you would get (“Hmmm, do I take row 18 left center floor, row 30 center floor or row 7 on the right 1 section from the stage???”).

John and I had come up with a system, we would party up to a point, then one of us would then get some sleep while the other one sat guard. Then of course we would switch every two hours. One always had to stay awake because you never knew what could happen at 3:00 or 4:00AM. Many times we watched as others would party too hardy, pass out, and then someone would come along, pick them up, move them out of the way, and take their place in line. Hey, All is fair in Love, War, and the pursuit of concert tickets. So, we never partied out of bounds and one of us always stayed alert.

There were other things to be aware of as well. You could easily be rolled - If you were one of the first thirty people in line, chances were you were buying a lot of tickets. It was not uncommon to be carrying $150 to $200 dollars cash (the equivalent of 20-30 tickets @ $7.50 ea.) because; at sixteen or seventeen years old you weren’t allowed by law to have a credit card  - A drunken, stoned 16 or 17 year old who has been partying for 12 plus hours is an easy mark at 3:00AM. Plus there was always a possibility that the line would be moved, or the procedures would be changed, or a countless number of other things. We knew all this; we were savvy veterans.
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Back to missing sleep - One time we were sleeping out for KISS tickets. We got to the Box Office and we were 11th and 12th in line. We knew most of the first ten people in line from sleeping out previously. There had been a number of people we got to know and party with through sleeping out. Most of these people were from different towns and we would only see them in line, and of course at the concerts. It was a nice type of camaraderie that was built amongst us. Anyway, most of them were buying a row each (Most of the time there was a 20 ticket limit [sometimes higher] and each floor section row consisted of 20 seats). We were psyched. This meant we would get somewhere around the 10th - 12th rows!

As the night rolled on, we partied with our sleep out buddies. Sometime around 1:00 AM this BIG, wasted guy came up to us and said:

I see you have an 8-Track player, I've got some tapes in my car, mind if I bring them over and we can listen to them?

Our player’s batteries had died around 2 hours before, so the tape player we were listening to belonged to the guys ahead of us in line, who we were partying with, we let them answer:

Sure,” they said, “What've you got?”

I've got one with Zeppelin on it. Kashmir.” Mr. Big Wasted Guy replied.

Yeah that's cool.” was their answer – thinking Physical Graffiti.

All right! I'll be right back.”

With that he stumbled away, obviously feeling no pain. Shortly after, he returned with a self-made 8-track tape. There were no identifying markings on it except for Kashmir scribbled on the front. That should have tipped us off. You see; Mr. Big Wasted Guy had made an entire tape of Kashmir, over and over again (for those unfamiliar with the 8-Track format think of it as a cassette with 4 sides, which, when played, switches sides automatically so you never have to flip the tape, it will just continuously play [side note: this was great for making out in the car] for as long as it is in the player). This was OK - at first, but after the first hour it was starting to get monotonous. Finally one of the guys we were partying with removed the tape. This only brought out the beast in
Mr. Big Wasted Guy:

What the Fuck ya doing? You said you liked Kashmir!” He hollered.

Yeah, but now we want to hear something else.” They replied.

I don't wanna hear something else! Does anybody here have a problem with that?
He screamed.

Then, with spittle and Jack Daniels flying from his mouth, his arms failing about swinging the bottle round in the air, he ranted:

Because if they do, they can KISS MY ASS! I'll kill anybody that even tries to turn that tape off!

No one was about to mess with this guy, even though we out numbered him about thirty-five to one. Can you picture trying to sleep with Kashmir playing over and over and over? How about for five hours straight? At times I felt hypnotized, my brain ached, I was nauseous, and no matter how tight I pulled my sleeping bag around my head, I could not escape the sound! I was getting frantic, anxious, disturbed and frightened.

My god! Why is this happening to me? Please let it end, Please let me wake up, Please let batteries die! Please, please, please, please, pleeeeease…

Mr. Big Wasted Guy finally passed out around 6:00 AM. Shortly after, the tape was successfully removed and everyone let out a huge sigh of relief. At 8:00 AM when the Box Office opened those who were standing in line behind Mr. Big Wasted Guy (I figured he was around number 18) calmly and politely stepped over, or walked around his body and we, the afflicted, watched contentedly as the line continued to move efficiently, leaving him whatever tickets might be left by the time he would awake. Meanwhile, we got row 15 (we figured a couple of people got away with purchasing more than the limit [most likely a $20 bribe to the cashier] and a row or 2 went to Radio Station comp tickets) not to mention that, that one particular frightening experienced changed for me, what was a great Rock-N-Roll song - into my “Rock-N-Roll Nightmare!” This was confirmed when few days later, a knee-jerk reaction caused me to cringe upon hearing the opening cords of Kashmir.

So, as you can see Ron it may not have been a whole lot easier, nor anymore much fun, but I gotta admit, I liked it better back then. And, even with inflation figured in, it still was cheaper.
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Ronnie B. has won a FREE copy of the IndepenDisc Disc of the month. Would you like a free CD too? Send your question about music in the 70s to: and if G.Gone answers your question in this column, we'll send the goods!

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        G.Gone's first column for PCC was an opinion piece written for their Bruce Springsteen Issue in October of 1999.
        Here's the teaser Pop-Culture Corn used for the lead in:

"G.Gone calls it as he saw it from the heart of the Punk/New Wave movement that at the time was looking to overthrow exactly what Springsteen was anointed to conquer."

Why I Don't Drive Down Thunder Road
By G. Gone

Rrrriiiipp, Whoosh, clackety, clackety-clack.

"Arrgh! What you do that for?!!"

It was Oct.1978 and I had just pulled the Bruce Springsteen Darkness On The Edge Of Town tape out of my 8-Track player and tossed it out the car window, much to the chagrin of my crusin' companions.

Yes, I liked Bruce Springsteen. I had been listening to him since a friend's brother had given him Bruce's 1st LP Greetings From Asbury Park. Soon after, my friends and I discovered LP #2, The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle which quickly became a party staple. Of course Born To Run blew the whole damn thing wide open. But I never became a fan, a Real fan. Darkness almost did it for me. It was the 1st (and last) Springsteen album I ever bought, and yet I bought it on 8-Track.

The fierceness of "Adam Raised A Cain" grabbed me with its angry guttural vocals, the light fluttering rim tapping drum sounds that danced delicately under the piano of "Candy's Room," the emotionally stirring solemness of the title track (Yes, I still recall these elements even though it has been over 20 years since I last heard them), all these combined with a chance encounter to finally get me to part with the $5.00 or $6.00 that it cost for an 8-Track back then. This, at a time when I was embracing the Punk/New Wave scene. Sure, I had heard and read Jon Landau's "I have seen the future of Rock & Roll..." quote, but that wasn't it. I had seen the future of Rock & Roll too and it wasn't Bruce Springsteen--it was the quick burning/fast dying Punk/New Wave movement spearheaded by the Sex Pistols, the Clash, a singer/songwriter (similar to B. Dylan cum B. Springsteen) named Elvis Costello, and dozens of other new artists that were clocking the music industry upside the head. That was the future. You can argue that Bruce's career has lasted 10 times longer and has been much more proficient and successful then 90% of the so-called artists that made Punk/New Wave the happening that it was and I'll have to agree, but in his whole career Bruce hasn't come close to changing the hierarchy of Rock & Roll the way the Sex Pistols did. Punk or not, I was still enjoying the full spectrum of music, and Bruce was a part of it until that October day.

It had been a little over 4 weeks since my purchase of the Darkness 8-Track. A purchase I made because of the afore mentioned chance encounter. Darkness had been doing well on the charts since its release in May. The obligatory summer tour was a success, packing them in everywhere. On August 25, I skipped Bruce & The E-Street Band's appearance at the arena in my city to go hang out, drink beer, and try to pick up girls at the local bar, Toad's Place. After all, I wasn't a fan. The cover at Toad's that night was $3.00 (I think) and the band Beaver Brown was playing. (This was before the Eddie & The Cruisers soundtrack which gave them their 15 minutes of fame as "John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band.") They played Toad's a lot, and with their Bruce-inspired NJ/Asbury Park sound they drew a lot of girls. Unfortunately, with Bruce and the Boys in town that night, the crowd was a bit light of both girls and guys.

We were about ready to call it a night when the band announced a "Special Guest" and out walks Bruce and his sax man Clarence Clemons. A small frenzy ensued as people realized what was happening. Oddly as all this was, it seemed as though the size of the crowd had doubled in minutes. Could this be associated with the concert (just 7 blocks away) being over and some of that crowd just happening to wander in? Or was there someone from the crowd and/or an employee who was tipped off and was now making frantic phone calls to people telling them to get there fast before "the Boss" (who was now in the "green" room) went on stage? Perhaps a combination of both. Either way we were treated to an amazing impromptu performance.

A short 3 song set that couldn't have lasted more than 20 minutes. He opened with "Rosalita" and absolutely smoked it! Followed that with "Double Shot Of My Baby's Love" and another song that I can't remember after all these years. I can remember acquiring a new respect for the man as he laid it all out. Overcoming the awkwardness of Beaver Brown, obviously freaked out to be backing the Boss, exposing himself to a small room of people in an intimate manner which could never be reproduced on the stages of the arenas and stadiums. He seemed at home. And while he could command the large venues from the stage, here he allowed the club to command him. Here I could understand Jon Landau's quote. Here was Bruce Springsteen, not "The Boss," playing Rock & Roll as he loved it, up close with the crowd, sharing a piece of himself as he received a piece of each of us back. It gave me the feeling that perhaps this is where Bruce would rather be, instead of in front of the masses that took away the personal aspect of his music. Here the music came forth from his heart; pure, natural, and unaltered by all the trappings of the business. A rare and magical moment, an aside from the hugeness now becoming the norm--a short breather to remind himself, and everybody else, that he could still kick it out like the DIYers now taking fashion by spitting on stardom.

So I went out several days later and picked up Darkness. It seemed as though everyday since the passengers in my car (the party vehicle of the time) were opening my tape case and passing over my Sex Pistols, Clash, Talking Heads, Dead Boys, Ramones, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Cars, Runaways, Patti Smith, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Doors, Tom Petty, Blue Oyster Cult, etc., etc. tapes in favor of Bruce. Until the day I snapped. I don't know what did it. Maybe it was because as hard as I wanted Darkness to represent that exhilarating 3 song set at Toad's, it just wasn't living up to what was given to me that night. I could take the "average blue-collar joe singing tales of heartache and unemployment" no longer. Here was a superstar whining. Bruce didn't whine at me at Toad's, he sang to me. He made me feel good to be alive at a time in my life when I was filled with rage and confusion. Rage against the adult real world, and confusion with everything that went along with it. Now, on tape, Bruce wasn't making me feel any better about it. That day, as the tape busted open upon the asphalt beneath the moving car wheels, I swore "No more Bruce".

And so it went, with Bruce backing my disdain by issuing the overlong, unfulfilling, haphazard double LP The River in 1980 (I may have sworn off Springsteen personally, but the radio, media, and general public hadn't). It was a huge success, with a world tour and all the trimmings. Sometime later he put out Nebraska, a dark, haunting solo acoustic album that I heard and immediately liked. A critic's darling, yet a commercial flop that I resisted purchasing for fear of ruining my conflicting opinions of the man and his music. This was followed of course by 1984's Born In The USA. The nation was swept up in a wave of Brucemania which propelled me even further away from the mainstream. Another world tour rolled across the nation as the country basked in renewed patriotism fueled by the title track (many of which mistook the anti-aggression, political scolding, social critique of the song as Red, White, and Blue-ism) with fists raised to the sky as they chanted mindlessly along. The superstardom that had been preordained almost a decade before had finally been undeniably obtained.

I lost track of Bruce a bit after that. Years passed. A 5 LP/3 CD Live set released, a divorce, Tunnel Of Love, a new marriage, the break-up of the E-Street band by Bruce himself (a few years earlier I did purchase "Miami" Steve Van Zandt's LP Men Without Women which I still enjoy to this day), retirement, a return in '92 with the albums Lucky Town and Human Touch, both recorded with studio musicians and both released on the same day to tepid reviews and disappointing sales, MTV unplugged, Academy and Grammy Awards in '94 for "Streets of Philadelphia," a Greatest Hits release in '95 including new tracks recorded with the reformed E-Street Band. The Greatest Hits package was a instant best seller putting Bruce back into the musical spotlight; he followed it that same year with The Ghost Of Tom Joad. Another solo acoustic album, as haunting as Nebraska yet more successful/accessible now. Could it be the rise in median age of the fans? Or the now wider acceptance of the singer/songwriter acoustic styling a la MTV unplugged? Either way, Bruce was hot again.

Bruce toured behind Tom Joad, playing solo acoustic sets in small intimate venues. Once again he came to my city. This time I considered going to see him; surely it could be as great as that night so many years ago. Then it happened. One dark, dreary, rainy morning on my way to work, over the radio came Rage Against The Machine's cover of "The Ghost Of Tom Joad." It blew me away! It blew Springsteen's take right out of the water. It brought back all the memories as to why I had become fed up with Bruce Springsteen. Here was a man with an amazing talent for writing and performing songs, yet when transformed and put in the spotlight, a certain element of blah-ness took over. Whether solo or with the E-Street Band, The Boss took the easy way out to appeal to the masses, instead of appealing to/from the heart. In the late '70s the urgency of the Punk/New Wave movements brought life to the music. Wicked, ugly, real life that threatened to trample Springsteen and his showmanship. On record and on stage Bruce went for the glory, where as in that short set, in that small club, with that unrehearsed bar band, Springsteen came from the heart with as much raw power, sweat, honesty, and music as any of the Punk/New Wavers of the day. With their remake of "Tom Joad," Rage Against The Machine used the urgency of the music to express the horror of the song, while Springsteen's version went for the familiar territory of the glory obtained by mass acceptance once again.

That's why now, with the success of Tracks the box set and a reunited E-Street Band knocking them dead everywhere they play on this year's model of the world tour, I'll skip the show in my city in favor of playing Rage's version of "Tom Joad," while remembering that night 21 years ago when I saw how great Springsteen actually was. I'll listen and think of how much greater Bruce Springsteen could have been.

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        That (the above) column and the response it received led to PCC offering G.Gone the
"That 70's Guy" column. In an effort to educate the readers as to where his line of thinking was coming from, G.Gone penned the first "That 70's Guy" as an Introduction...

       June 2000                         That 70’s Guy             

                                                        By G. Gone  

History repeats the old conceits.
Everything that was once old is new again.
Those who forget history are destined to repeat it.
Wisdom comes with age.
What was once lost, is now found.
Don't trust anyone over 30.
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain.
Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll.

I'm not that good with clichés, but can you figure out which ones apply here?

The '60s.

I was born in 1960. It was the beginning of a turbulent decade that shall always hold a place in the history books. Having it be part of my life for my first ten years on this planet is something I'll never forget. I can't remember the actual events of the early '60s, but I do remember these events as if I really experienced them, because I did.

Anyone will now tell you that events of epic proportion can affect the young child. Look at all these people who go on the talk shows and claim how little Johnny is a troubled teen because of the fact he has suppressed memories of the death of his cat when he was two years old.

This is my claim. I may not be able to remember the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, or
Malcolm X, but I know all about them. I did not witness Jack Ruby gun down Lee Harvey Oswald, but those images will always be frozen in my mind. I don't recall the Bay of Pigs, the beginning of the Vietnam "conflict," the Cuban missile crisis, the Civil and Equal Rights movements, nor the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (although my mother tells me I did watch along with everybody else). But all these things and more, make up who I am.

I do not remember these actual events as they happened, but I did live these events and I remember them as part of me. And I agree with the so-called experts that state that at any age, your persona can be conformed by the events around you.

I do remember Neil Armstrong's "One small step..." I watched it live on my grandfather's black-and-white TV. Elvis' 1968 comeback, napalming the Vietcong, the '68 Democratic Convention and the chaos that ensued. I remember Woodstock, hippies, Peace & Love, "Hell No We Won't Go," Kent State, Timothy Leary, ("Turn on, Tune in & Drop out"). I remember Bobby Seals, and the Black Panther party demonstrating on May Day on the Yale campus, just miles from my house. I remember the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the sit-ins, peace demonstrations, and marches on the capitol. But most of all I remember a world turned upside down and inside out set against a musical soundtrack that still resounds today.

These were the turbulent '60s, and I remember them. I remember them because of the media. The media grew up in the '60s as well. Television was no longer a perk of wealth. Everyday more and more people owned TVs. Color was introduced and boomed. Newspapers and magazines needed to capture everything more quickly now so as to remain competitive in the industry.

What we had was a crush of information. Us late Boomers, we caught all this information mainly through our baby-sitter, the electronic baby-sitter, our TV. The information age of TV was upon us and it was up to us to determine what fit where.

It affected us. It changed us. For better or for worse? Who can say? Only each individual. I myself have not come to a final conclusion just yet. But I must say that in looking back, the past definitely affected my future.

 The '70s.

Yes, I can be identified as a product of the '70s very easily. Everything I think or do, my opinions and my philosophies are all rooted in the '70s as influenced by the '60s. This is one reason why Richard Hell labeled us the "Blank" generation, but a lot of us refer to ourselves as the "Lost" generation.

After the upheaval of the prior decade, we were left pretty much alone, almost forgotten about, handed a legacy that we didn't want, forced upon us by people of no connection to us. A legacy given birth by a society that had scared us to death as we were growing up. A society that was still scaring us as we tentatively felt our way through the decade of the '70s, not knowing whether or not there would be a life waiting for us on the other side of the cold war. So, we took all our teenage angst, unrest, uncertainty, and fear, cranked up the music and said "The Hell With It, Let's Party While We Can." A good time was had by all in the shadow of the atomic sun.

You have to remember--we grew up watching as the teens of the sixties tried to change everything with Peace & Love. We watched as they were slaughtered in the jungles of Vietnam. We saw them beaten in the streets of our own hometowns. We heard of the draft dodgers being hauled off to prison for not wanting to go to war and kill someone over something they did not believe in. We witnessed their revolution of drugs, music, free love, peace, and harmony reach its apex at Woodstock. Approximately five hundred thousand people had the chance to come together and make some sort of change in the world, and what did we see? We saw it fizzle. Shortly after Woodstock, the sixties generation quietly faded from view. Nothing monumental ever came from Woodstock except the fact that as an event (both musical and [counter] cultural) it will always be of historical significance.

So the 70s generation (the "Blank" generation, the "Lost" generation, I'm t-t-t-talkin' 'bout MY generation) said; "Hey, That Peace and Love shit was OK, but it didn't work then and no way in hell will it work now. So fuck everything, we're gonna burn this sucker to the ground and go up in flames with it."

The cliches above, they all apply.

And this is what this column will be about.

Write me at and ask a question, any question, about the seventies. I'll answer them from a perspective that was developed as a partying, rock 'n' roll loving, confused teenager of the '70s who had a plateful of "No Future," "Real" world put on the table in front of him, and with the stereo blasting, is still munching away. If I choose your question, you'll get an IndepenDisc Disc of the Month free of charge.

Finally, if you haven't figured this out yet, I LOVE music, it shaped and formed me as much as everything else. If anything, it was music's cultural impact that defined who/what the '70s (and I) were/are. (And for the record, I've never seen That '70s Show, from which the PCC editors have stolen [OK, restructured] the title for this column.)

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Which led to...

July 2000                                          That 70’s Guy

                        Peter Frampton: Guitar god, or worthless wanker?
                                                        By G. Gone  

This month's question comes from Bill J. in Chicago, IL. Bill writes:

Dear 70's Guy,

All I ever hear about Peter Frampton is how great he was, what with Frampton Comes Alive in '76 being the watermark of best selling live albums ever, and all. But c'mon, all I've ever heard by the guy is the over-long and over-bloated guitar wankings of "Do You Feel Like We Do," the formula-matic "Show Me The Way," and the mushy, gushy "All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)." Other than that, he played guitar early in the 70s with Humble Pie (known for their one big hit [it reached #73 on the charts] "I Don't Need No Doctor") then went off on his own to record 4 mediocre LP's (Wind Of Change, Frampton's Camel, Somethin's Happening, and Frampton). Next, the phenom of Frampton Comes Alive and then he cacks in '77 with I'm In You, a bestseller due to the lead-in and strength of Frampton Comes Alive (and over a year touring to support it alone). It sucked, his starring role in the Sgt. Pepper movie sucked and then he drops into relative obscurity for the past 25 years. Along the way he still tours, records and puts out mediocre albums, most notably Frampton Comes Alive II and the recently released Live in Detroit, but he's never "pitched another shutout" (and music fans give thanks) since. So, my question is:
Does Peter Frampton suck, and why?

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your well thought out and insightful question--did you like how we edited it for maximum effect? You have posed a 2-part question; part 1: "Does Peter Frampton suck?" The answer is a simple no. Part 2: "and why?" should read "and why not?" and it goes like this...

Peter Frampton does not suck because he can play a mean guitar. When he was on, live, in front of an audience, up on stage, in the arena, Peter Frampton played guitar like a god. This "phenom" as you put it is what happened when everything was in the right place at the right time, a convergence of the gods (the music gods) if you will.

First, let's go with your baseball analogy; in baseball, a middle reliever is a mediocre pitcher with great stuff, but limited over the course of time. Thus, he can give you some great innings, but can't sustain it enough to give you a great game.

Peter Frampton was the rock 'n' roll equivalent of a middle reliever. In the studio he gives you a hit or miss performance, but when he was on, he was on--throwing the high heat over the plate with ease, able to ace ya with the slow slider, or even a change-up every once in a while. But he never could sustain that greatness and balance over the course of a whole album.

My guess is that some A&R man for A&M Records was assigned to cover Frampton on his tours (probably for general shit like making sure each hotel room was of proper cost to the record co. and balancing the expense account so that it wasn't abused by this mediocre talent that after 4 LPs hasn't yet sold enough to make us money and we're considering releasing him soon_). So, this A&R guy is going to concert after concert on the tour(s) and he realizes something. When Frampton (the pitcher) gets on stage (the mound) and lets the rock 'n' roll (the game) take complete control over the music and the man--well, that, Bill, that is when "Frampton Comes Alive."

He saw it, he heard it, and he felt it. Frampton wailing on his electric guitar like a madman (the high heat), Frampton strumming the acoustic with passion (the slow slider), and Frampton grooving, laying down a danceable rhythm and funk (the change up). He saw him on his game. On stage Frampton wowed 'em, mowed them down, struck out both sides, male & female.

In the mid 70s, guitar wanking ruled. The boys loved guitar wanking. You got wasted, cranked up the 8-Track (fed through the power amp and into the Jensen co-axial speakers that you and all your buddies installed in your car), strapped on the air guitar, and you wailed along. The girls loved Frampton because of his cute looks and boyish charm, his "honest, sincere lyrics" (yeah right) and of course the shoulder length golden locks and warm tender vocals. He made them swoon. He was a sex symbol.

This was the true definition of "cock rock" before all the 80s hair bands took that definition and changed it to fit the biker/drugs/orgy image. Cock rock was born in the mid 70s with Peter Frampton, because it drew the attention of both sexes based on the power of rock and cock. A Frampton concert was a celebration of male testosterone shooting out of control aided by the party atmosphere of beer drinking and pot smoking with the added advantage of actually having females--gushing "hold-me-in-your-arms-and-kiss-me" females--right by your side (something usually reserved for the "relationship friendly" bands like Bread, etc.).

It all came together (Males, Females, and Rock) as the 70s generation were willing to lose themselves in the music. (This is also partly to blame for the progressive/art rock movement that was making inroads on the sub/consciousness of rebellious teens who figured that they wanted to rebel in a more controlled laid back (laissez faire--the true birth of the slacker--but that's another column) manner. Thus, in part giving birth to the punk movement several years later. We were fucked up and didn't know which musical direction to focus on at the time (throw in disco, and you had a virtual cornucopia of musical rebellion/confusion within a 4-6 year period)--and Frampton rocked.

Frampton rocked the mid-70s, and unless you were there to live it, to feel it, to experience and understand it, well then, I don't expect you to really understand it today. I myself when listening to Frampton Comes Alive for this column (it was the first time on the turntable in at least 20 years) could feel right away the lumbering old bones of a rock dinosaur. I almost--almost--went out and bought the new Live In Detroit CD (again, for this column) in an effort to see if he actually does hold up in this day and age--but naah. I decided against it due to the fact that, well, he's a DINOSAUR and I really have no interest. But in the 70s, our parties were held at the rock shows in the arenas, and he brought as many girls out to the parties as he did guys, and that my friend is what it was all about--and, oh yeah, he could wail...

So my take has this mythical A&R guy seeing all this and seeing a LOT of MONEY. He saw the youth rallying around each other for the music, he saw a new culture of teens who wanted to lose themselves in the music for the music, not for the political ramifications of the lyrics calling to arms and trying to change governmental policies and control, or the mind-inspiring writing of a song as a whole, but to lose themselves in a good time with each other, for all they had was each other and the music, because except for the here and now, there were no guarantees.

So this A&R man made a highlight reel. A highlight reel that turned mediocre middle reliever Peter Frampton into the Cy Young of Rock. Every time Frampton Comes Alive was spun on the turntable, slapped into the 8-Track, or broadcast over the airwaves, Peter Frampton pitched a shutout. That A&R guy from A&M Records took every high heat, slow slider, and change up that had mowed 'em down, and struck 'em out in the arenas (where the "lost" generation would congregate to throw down a party/buzz without the pressures or presence of the outside grownup real world), neatly packaged them and gave them to us so that anytime we wanted, we could achieve the arena bliss we had grown so fond of. And it worked, breaking every sales record of the time. You couldn't go anywhere without Frampton Comes Alive blasting out of the closest set of speakers. Yes, this was great music for that time, but understand, "for that time." I do suggest you try it, if just once--throw down a party/buzz, give Frampton Comes Alive a spin, and dig it.

From That 70's Guy's point of view, it's worth it, if only for the following: Bob Mayo (Guitar, Vocals, Fender Rhodes Piano, Organ and Grand Piano), Stanley Sheldon (Bass Guitar, vocals), and John Siomos (Drums) compliment Peter Frampton (Guitars, vocals and Talkbox) perfectly. These guys simply smoke together. Album highlights (I know, the whole album is made up of highlights, these are the best of the best):

"Doobie Wah": A funk fest extraordinaire with Frampton wailing in front of one of the hottest bass and keyboard runs this side of Sly and the Family Stone. This is wanking, This Is Fuckin' Wanking to the most extreme guitar wanking god. Trust me, rock never felt so good, Smile.

"It's A Plain Shame": Blistering! I keep getting drawn into the guitar intensity of Frampton.

"I Want To Go To The Sun": Wails, WaiLs, And WAILS!! Funkengroovin.

"Lines On My Face": Lifts you with guitar onto a transcendental plain that just has you smiling with the good time had by all as you get lost in a musical odyssey as worthy of early Santana/Traffic as any.

"Do You Feel Like We Do": All the overblown, overlong guitar wanking does capture you on and off, but the most potent part is when Frampton gets on the talkbox (a device where the guitar sound is fed through a tube which is placed in his mouth allowing him to manipulate the sound produced from the guitar by opening and closing his mouth and forming words from the sounds). After some normal reciting of the lyrics, mainly the title, Frampton makes a sincere gesture by saying (in guitar/voice vocal sound) "I want to thank you." Every girl I knew thought he was saying, "I want to fuck you," and they loved it.

Cameron Crowe (then contributing editor of Rolling Stone) wrote in the liner notes, "Frampton Comes Alive is much more than a souvenir. It is a testimony to Peter Frampton in his natural habitat." No and yes. 25 years later it is a souvenir, but an important one.

If you want to understand the 70s you must study Frampton Comes Alive. It will give you the insight of just where everything was and where it could/would go as the decade wore on, but for a brief moment in time Peter Frampton was the MVP of A&M Records, he won the pennant. A title he wore with grace and dignity as he tried to remain loyal to his convictions. Unfortunately he became a victim of the corporate structure of greed. The moneymaking machine rushed him into the studio for a follow up (and into the movies, but we won't get into the Sgt. Pepper debacle here) and under pressure (and off the stage) Peter Frampton couldn't produce a LP of hits worthy of the Frampton Comes Alive legacy. Peter Frampton was never the staff ace, and to ask him to deliver a perfect game following his shut out--well, he crumbled, and how can you blame him. I'm In You might've been a no-hitter for A&M, racking up impressive numbers in sales, but to the fans--the partying, arena rocking teens that Frampton had been mowing down with guitar god licks--it was a NO-HITter. After that embarrassment, the fans (and the record co.) looked elsewhere to get off on music, and Frampton, without their support continued on in relative obscurity. But...

No one will ever take that pennant away from him, for it will always be on display in that highlight reel know as Frampton Comes Alive.

Trust me on this one. I was there.

Bill J. has won a FREE copy of the IndepenDisc Disc of the month. Would you like some free stuff too? Send your question about music in the 70s to: and if I answer your question in this column, we'll send the goods!   

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        And that's where it ended, 2 columns in and "That 70's Guy" is without a home. We here at IndepenDisc would like to see G.Gone pen a few more of these insightful ditties, and if we can ever find the time to free him of all his other obligations to do so, we'll be sure to post 'em right here for your enjoyment.

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