Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BOSTON....I have to give the telephone company lobby credit: their latest slogan (see ad on right) is pretty slick. "Smart network or dumb pipe?" they ask, and surely the answer is obvious. Who'd want a dumb pipe if they could have a smart network instead?

As it turns out, the answer is "just about everyone who knows anything about network design," but since that's a pretty small group it's still a slick slogan.

But here's what I really want to know. I watched their little cartoon, and for some reason they decided to rip off pay homage to the cover art for the old Boston debut album from 1976. My freshman roommate in college sure liked that album, but really, does anyone much younger than me even get the reference? Or do most people watch the cartoon and wonder why the hell it's illustrated with a picture of the city of Boston underneath a bubble?

Or, unknown to me, is Boston's debut album a cult favorite even among today's kids? Or what? Anyone have any idea what they were thinking?

Kevin Drum 5:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (111)

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Comments

I would imagine that their target audience of lawmakers and influentials is right about in your age range, Kevin.

Posted by: Dan Miller on June 15, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know, Boss, but I can tell you that when I had to share a house with four 20-year-old guys for a summer a few years ago, I was startled to find that they listened mostly to classic rock--Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, etc.--with an admixture of Weezer and suchlike groups. It was weird to think that nothing had changed (these kids were from the same part of CA as me, but some 15 years younger). I should note, though, that they were all on the racist side, and so perhaps that explained their relative lack of interest in hiphop.

Posted by: JakeBCool on June 15, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, what's funny is I'd never seen this ad until I notice, after reading this post, that its sitting there on the right adbar...

Posted by: DJAnyReason on June 15, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Boston both sucks and blows (apologies to Bart). Boston su-diddly-ucks (apologies to Ned).
Boston was popular when I was in high school. Them and Styx. And Kansas. And Supertramp. They all suck.

Posted by: es on June 15, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kev, it's all meta now. Who cares if it actually makes sense?

Posted by: craigie on June 15, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

You could almost say Kevin had an inkling about the ad, then a hunch, whatever it was, - it was certainly more than a feeling.

Thanks, I'll be here all week.

Posted by: cazart on June 15, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! Boston ruled! Good tight music. Lyrics weren't much, but oh, well.....

Posted by: Matt in Eugene on June 15, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I went to a Boston concert in 1977. They played their album. They are still around. They still suck.

Posted by: Brian C.B. on June 15, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

If this site had ratings cazart would get a 4 from me.
Excuse me now, I gotta hitch a ride, head for the other side.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho on June 15, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

For me, it all comes down to the argument put for by Lawrence Lessig in his book, the Future of Ideas: The fate of the commons in a connected world. It is precisely because the very edges of the Internet control its functions, that the Internet has flourished through innovation. He predicted the very scenario we are encountering now when he wrote that book many years ago.

He also gave a history of the connectivity. ATT, when the Internet was just a gleam in the eye of researchers, argued that the Internet would not work unless all control was from within. Consequently, when the experts built the 'Net, they by-passed ATT's control and went with those who understood the need for control from the edges. Now, all these many years later, ATT's offspring are now bringing forth the very same argument. Only now, it's the politicians who are making the decisions, not the experts.

Posted by: Jim in Arizona on June 15, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they got their Boston albums mixed up and really meant to have ripped off the cover of "Third Stage", on which Cool the Engines was released.

Or maybe someone doodled that Boston look-a-like thingy during a meeting, someone else found it, thought it was cool and published it ... :-)

Regards.

Posted by: Ole on June 15, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think the similarity is just in your head. The sci-fi image of a domed city with ultra-highways leading into it has been in vogue for 70+ years.

The telco ad has a domed city and highways. The Boston album, on the other hand, has some kind of weird flying mushrooms, possibly Roswell-style flying saucers, zooming through space. They're different.

Posted by: Zandru on June 15, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Scholtz, the lead guitarist, songwriter and founder of Boston, worked for the telephone company before he became a full-time musician. Maybe that has something to do with it.

The way I heard the story, Scholtz had been shopping the first Boston album, which he had already recorded in his home studio, to record companies for a while and no one was interested. The A&R guys would listen to "More Than A Feeling" and tell him that kind of stuff was outdated and would go nowhere. At the same time he was up for a big promotion at his day job. His boss had a talk with him and told him that management really wanted to promote him but they were worried that he'd get a record deal and leave. He was really discouraged about the music prospects and told his boss that there was no need to worry about that, his music wasn't going anywhere, and he got the promotion. A couple of days later Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records called him and signed him to a big fat record deal, and he did quit his job at the phone company after all, and "More Than A Feeling" was a monster hit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 15, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

I stopped watching that cartoon when it jumped to the absurd, when they say the net neutrality wants to stuff all traffic on the same lane. (strawman: since when does the net neutrality ppl want to revert the "information superhighway" into the 56k backwoods road?)

For the stupid ppl inside the beltway, The anti-net neutrality ppl want to steal a couple of lanes of the beltway for their "special traffic" then slap on an additional toll for the people to use these HOV lanes, while forcing the rest of the web surfers to drive on the remaining now more clogged lanes.

The net neutrality people want all lanes to be open to all traffic with no additional tolls or fees for the type of information you are trying to access or send (Hell this would be a good counter cartoon for the net neutrality people to come up with).

In addition, the telecos then pull the blackmail thingy saying that if they dont get what they want they will have no incentive to widen the beltway a couple of lanes if they arent allowed wall off several of those extra lanes for their pay extra toll roads.

It is the same MO they have used previoiusly to extract concessions from congress and local municipalities. They extract tax breaks and concessions from municipalities with the promise they will build out in improve their infrastructure. They walk to the bank and never deliver on their promises. Just ask Pennsylvania to show what they got out of their tax deal and promises from Verizon (? not sure if it was them) from several years ago. I think there was a lawsuit filed over that one.

Posted by: zAmboni on June 15, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

sleater-kinney has a pretty cool cover of 'more than a feeling', but i don't think they can be considered kids anymore...

Posted by: danelectro on June 15, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kev, it's all meta now. Who cares if it actually makes sense? Posted by: craigie

It's all the Japaneses' fault! The damn Dentsu-fication of advertising. "Image is everything."

Posted by: JeffII on June 15, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Minor correction to Secular Animist's post: Tom Scholtz worked in R&D at Polaroid.

Posted by: Stuart on June 15, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kurt Cobain used More than a Feeling as the basis for Smells Like Teen Spirit, so take the snot outta your brain and sell a million albums yourself before you open your obnoxious yap about how lousy Boston is.

Yes, they are shooting for your demographic, Kevin, and they nailed it. It doesn't matter--it's a cheesy ripoff image, is all.

Posted by: paradox on June 15, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Arena-rock blockbusters like Boston never really went away, because classic rock radio never stopped playing them.

One of the hottest radio formats of the 70's and early 80's was something called "Music of Your Life", featuring big-band classics and pre-rock pop performers such as Patti Page and Rosemary Clooney. This format is seldom found on the radio dial today because most of the target audience has died, and the rest aren't spending their money on much of anything besides healthcare. So, my advice to those of you who can't stand classic rock is to wait 30-40 years.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 15, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! Boston ruled! Good tight music. Lyrics weren't much, but oh, well...Posted by: Matt in Eugene

(Rubbing his hands together, but fearing Bob's reappearance, he salivates for another good music slagfest.)

Boston sucked. Those were my high school days as well. About only thing I can listen to from that period any longer is about a dozen Zepplin tunes, Jackson Brown's The Pretender, Steely Dan, Born To Run, and . . . That's about it.

I'm cool with just about anything British circa 1963-1970, then there is this huge void, essentially my adolescence, until 1976 and Never Mind the Bollocks. Then the world changed for the better.

Posted by: JeffII on June 15, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Who'd want a dumb pipe if they could have a smart network instead? ... As it turns out, the answer is "just about everyone who knows anything about network design,"

An excellent point on both counts. How on earth do we explain to lay audiences that placing intelligence at the "ends" of the network is the best way to go?

Posted by: Constantine on June 15, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Another small correction to Secular Animist: Boston signed their first recording contract with Epic/CBS.
Ahmet Ertegun probably thought Boston's first album was a piece of shit.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 15, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, I used to work with the folks who generated the artwork for these... so I recognized immediately the reference to Boston...

as a matter of fact, the outfit drawing these used to do network training and web based training... looks like some rehased ideas...

Posted by: rainlion on June 15, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Stuart: Minor correction to Secular Animist's post: Tom Scholtz worked in R&D at Polaroid.

You are right, and actually that's more of a major correction. I thought there was a connection between the telephone company and Sholtz. Never mind.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 15, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

They better hope nobody gets the reference. If it weren't for Journey, Boston would have been in the running for Worst Band Ever. (Journey takes up the top five slots on that spot, because they're at least five times as bad as the next worst band, which happens to be Boston.)

Posted by: Tom Hilton on June 15, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

A) Boston kicked ass. Its a shame they go screwed over so badly by the recording industry, and got old before their third album. Awesome sound, great music, so-so lyrics.

B) That is such a rip off of their cover art. Oh well. I'm sure the copyright was up a decade or so ago, and its derivative enough not to matter.

C) Flying /Mushrooms/ ? Come on, they are flying guitars with cities on them and massive burners underneath. Flying mushrooms would just be silly....

D) I'm sure everyone in Boston knows the cover art, and since the targeted voting age is roughly 30-55, its definitely going to strike a chord with that age group.

E) Sleazy assholes. There ought to be a law about misleading political ads, like getting put out in the public square where people can line up for a day to kick you in the jimmies.

F) Think about it. It would definitely change the nature of politics :)

:)

Posted by: Mysticdog on June 15, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

To add to Stuart's post, Tom Sholz was(is) an MIT grad. He invented the 'Power Soak', a guitar/amp compression device, precursor to the 'Rockman'(also invented by Sholz) - a tiny guitar effects device that was widely used in the guitar world. While Boston's music made little lasting impact, the 'Rockman'(& other Sholz inventions) literally changed the face of Rock.

Having said that, I agree the ad graphic is an homage/ripoff of some kind, but again, why?

Posted by: raff on June 15, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

If it weren't for Journey, Boston would have been in the running for Worst Band Ever. (Journey takes up the top five slots on that spot, because they're at least five times as bad as the next worst band, which happens to be Boston.) Posted by: Tom Hilton

Word.

What seals Journey's position as perhaps the worst rock band of all time is that stupid fucking video shot on a pier in SF where they are all playing "air instruments." Gawd. Neil Schon left Santana's band for that. Go figure.

Posted by: JeffII on June 15, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK
Having said that, I agree the ad graphic is an homage/ripoff of some kind, but again, why?

Probably because people in the target demographic respond to it with warm fuzzy good feelings; it probably focus-group tested well.

Most people don't consciously deconstruct and analyze advertising they are exposed to, and the people that do aren't the principal focus of advertising efforts.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 15, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Teens listen to classic rock these days. They face the same dilemma I did in the 1980's - if you aren't into hip-hop or R&B and you don't have a brother in college to tell you about cool new bands, there's not much left to choose from. Judging by the t-shirts that the little punks are wearing to the mall:

YES: Beatles, Ramones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Bob Marley.

NO: Rolling Stones, Boston, Grateful Dead, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, The Police, David Bowie, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Kinks, Eric Clapton, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

MAYBE: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors.

Now, who would have picked that combination of survivors and fade-outs twenty-five years ago?

Posted by: Jonmiller9 on June 15, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Uh Zandru:

Is the word Boston written in almost identical script to the Boston album in Kevin's head?

Posted by: Eric on June 15, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus: Another small correction to Secular Animist: Boston signed their first recording contract with Epic/CBS.

Yep, that's right too. Another small correction, it's Tom Scholz, not "Scholtz" as I misspelled it.

It's been a long time since I heard that story. That should teach me to check Google before telling stories that I only vaguely remember. I don't know how I got Ahmet Ertegun mixed up in it. Here's what the FAQ on Boston's website says about Scholz getting signed in 1975:

Again, copies of the tape are sent to various record labels, but they are again rejected. Local promoters Paul Ahern and Charlie McKenzie (who signed the J. Geils Band) are hired to be Tom's management. Ahern and McKenzie, who have several contacts in the music industry, help get the still-unnamed group a recording contract with CBS/Epic Records.

Tom Sholz is a good man. From the Boston website:

Tom is a vegetarian, and is heavily involved with organizations such as Greenpeace, PETA, domestic violence groups, etc. In 1987, Tom set up a foundation to support such causes as animal rights, food banks, homeless shelters, and children's rights. Through the foundation, he has donated several million dollars to those causes. Tom received the Mahatma Ghandi Award in 1987, and was named "Man of the Year" by the National Hospice Organization in 1988.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 15, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Boston was among the group of bland mid-70s arena rock bands that people like Elvis Costello should have rescued us from.

Well, maybe it happened in an alternate universe.

Posted by: Vincent on June 15, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

I'm cool with just about anything British circa 1963-1970, then there is this huge void, essentially my adolescence, until 1976 and Never Mind the Bollocks.

Dude, you are seriuosly deranged. The Rollilng Stones put out plenty of good music between 1970 and 1976. Ditto for The Who. Ditto for Eric Clapton. Meanwhile you damn-with-faint-praise Led Zepplin which also put out plenty of awesome stuff in that time period.

Posted by: Edo on June 15, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know what the phone company was thinking but, damn, that was a good album. Got lots of play around the old frat house at Berkeley.

...makes me want to go find the old bong packed somewhere up in the attic.

Posted by: nonplussed on June 15, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

I've always thought the Boston cover was a ripoff/homage (rippage?) to James Blish's "Cities in Flight", myself...

Posted by: Doozer on June 15, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Notice most of the "cool" old bands have stopped playing out and embarassing themselves. The Rolling Stones have decided to turn themselves into a joke and that Superbowl performance doubtless destroyed any cred they might have had among the younger set. Springsteen is too much of an NPR favorite these days to be cool. I maybe wrong but I got the impression the Talking Heads are enjoying a resurgence among college kids, and the Pixies and Nirvana still are apparently cool, in fact the Pixies seem to be far more popular with college kids now than they were when I was in college and they were actually exciting. Someday Ray Davies will again be recognized for the genius he is.

Posted by: Vanya on June 15, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, you are seriuosly deranged. The Rollilng Stones put out plenty of good music between 1970 and 1976. Ditto for The Who. Ditto for Eric Clapton. Meanwhile you damn-with-faint-praise Led Zepplin which also put out plenty of awesome stuff in that time period. Posted by: Edo

I like a lot of the Stones from 1970-1977. However, they really should have called it a day after Some Girls. As the cliche goes, they were always a singles band. Case in point "Turd On The Run" from Exile On Main Street. Eighteen tracks of which five are still worth listening to.

The Who (meaning Townsend) had two things after 1970, Who's Next and Quadrophenia. After that, pretty spotty.

Clapton spent most of the 1970s addicted to herion and producing little of lasting value other than the Derek and the Dominoes album.

I said I hold dear a dozen or so Zepplin tunes, but they were done for after Physical Graffiti.

Posted by: JeffII on June 15, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jonmiller9 wrote: "if you aren't into hip-hop or R&B and you don't have a brother in college to tell you about cool new bands, there's not much left to choose from."

Actually, there is a lot to choose from.

Opera, chamber music, symphonic works, in the baroque, classical, romantic, and modern periods — that's twelve categories right there. Then there is "early music" that predates baroque. Big band and swing, American folk, and jazz, and we still haven't left the United States. Going abroad, we have chanteuses such as Edith Piaf, who is very accessible. Let's not forget flamenco/gypsy music and klezmer and celtic harp and Andean music. I haven't even got to Africa yet. And Indonesian Gamelan, and a world of music of the Indian subcontinent.

And back in America, we have Cajun, barbershop quartet, and theater organ music, not to mention music inspired by religion.

Expand your horizons, people. Music does not start with rock and roll and end with hip hop.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on June 15, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Give me a stupid network any time:

http://www.isen.com/papers/Dawnstupid.html

Posted by: Bob M on June 15, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the greatest contribution from Mr Scholz wasn't the music, but his invention known as the Rockman X100.

In the early 80's in order to get a good guitar sound, you had to have a quality amp and access to a multimillion dollar recording studio.

Mr Scholz invented this little sandwich sized device that guitar players could plug into and get a nice tone that could be used for practice, at the gig, or in the studio when you needed a good tone in a hurry.

These days there are all sorts of guitar amp 'modelers' on the market, ala Line 6 POD series amongst others but I believe Scholz was way ahead of the curve on this.

I am sure some of my fellow guitar playing commentors here remember this little gem, even if it was very fragile and had too much compression.

Posted by: X100 on June 15, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, that sounds like my iTunes, except you left out gospel (white, black, and mass choir), bluegrass, old-time country, LOTS of flavors of R&B, and all the jam bands (not just the Dead) who did cool things while radio was doing disco. Various flavors of country, not all bad... And then there's unclassifiable music ... anything Dawg...

Those flying things on the Boston album are guitars!

Posted by: Ducktape on June 15, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

My love for Boston's music was intense but short-lived.

My 13-year-old's musical taste overlaps a lot with mine - Cream and the Beatles from the old days, Coldplay and the White Stripes from the 21st century. If he ever hears Boston and finds out I used to like them, it will cause permanent psychological damage.

Posted by: Beale on June 15, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Expand your horizons, people. Music does not start with rock and roll and end with hip hop.
Posted by: Joel Rubinstein

So true, Joel. Music does not start with rock and roll and end with hip-hop. But good music does not include barbershop quartet or theater organ music.

Posted by: JeffII on June 15, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Joel Rubinstein:

"Opera, chamber music, symphonic works, in the baroque, classical, romantic, and modern periods that's twelve categories right there. Then there is "early music" that predates baroque. Big band and swing, American folk, and jazz, and we still haven't left the United States. Going abroad, we have chanteuses such as Edith Piaf, who is very accessible. Let's not forget flamenco/gypsy music and klezmer and celtic harp and Andean music. I haven't even got to Africa yet. And Indonesian Gamelan, and a world of music of the Indian subcontinent."

I couldn't agree with you more Joel!

Posted by: Dan Ridley on June 15, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

With a dumb pipe, you get to decide what comes down it. With a smart pipe, the corporation that owns the pipe gets to decide.

So make your choice: do you want to have a choice or are you happy with what Daddy Bigbucks decides is good enough to keep you quiet?

Posted by: Bill Rehm on June 15, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think I get it now.

With a dumb pipe, you get classical, opera, folk, and baroque. You get Celtic, klezmer, Andean music, and Edith Piaf.

With a smart pipe you get Boston.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 15, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget Viking Metal!

Posted by: Hagar the Musicable on June 15, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

With a smart pipe you get Boston.Posted by: dr sardonicus

And with the crack pipe you get Rick James or Pete Doherty?

Posted by: JeffII on June 15, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Saw their simplistic video - looks like they want to return to the days of circuit switching, where lanes are dedicated, so to speak, for specific purposes. Typical telco mentality!

BTW, When I was in college, Boston hit the charts and I thought they sucked. It wasn't until "God save the Queen" that I was delivered from shitty '70's music.

Posted by: Subsea Scum on June 15, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Boston?

Who the hell are Boston?

And I'm looking at the other bands listed here. Except for a couple - has anyone listened to any music since Reagan was president?

Well - here is the living proof - the blogosphere is OLDER than the general population...

Posted by: JC on June 15, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Boston who? I'm fifty and I can't recall the band. Must have lost some brain cells...

Posted by: Carla on June 15, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

The anti-net neutrality ppl want to steal a couple of lanes of the beltway for their "special traffic" then slap on an additional toll for the people to use these HOV lanes, while forcing the rest of the web surfers to drive on the remaining now more clogged lanes.

If only. What they really want to do is stomp Vonage and Skype (note: not slow lane, no lane), and require you to subscribe to their shitty overpriced VOIP "solution", and stomp all online video in favor of their own.

Posted by: AnonymousCoward on June 15, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, Rick James takes her new/And there's nothing I can do.

dr. sardonicus just inspired me to put on some klezmer music really loud. Screw the neighbors!

JeffII, we've had this early '70s discussion before. You keep leaving out the VU/Lou Reed just to piss me off, don't you, sugar?

Posted by: shortstop on June 15, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK


Joel -

Well, sure. But find me a teenager who's been on a date and listens to opera, big band, American folk, Edith Piaf, klezmer, Andean music, Indonesian Gamelan, theater organ music or barbershop quartets.

When you're a teen-ager, you need something that makes noise and reassures you that you're somebody more than just your parents' kid.

Posted by: jonmiller9 on June 15, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

When you're a teen-ager, you need something that makes noise and reassures you that you're somebody more than just your parents' kid.

Screwing the neighbors would probably do the trick...

Klezmer on, people!

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 15, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Funny:

"www.internetofthefuture.org" timed out. Oops.

Okay, who unleashed the DOS attack on AT&T?

Posted by: Jet Tredmont on June 15, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII
I'm cool with just about anything British circa 1963-1970

JeffII,why do you hate America?

KIDDING! Kee-rist, you guys take everything serious. Have a cheesesteak, por favor.

I love Boston. Extraordinarily fond memories of a 15 hour all night drive to go skiing in Vermont, hitting the wall while getting off thruway, and navigator/wingman/bottle opener popping in Boston 8-track (date me!) and cranking it. Had to pick up a CD version of the album from the used store recently. Lyrics? Screw the lyrics. Ella Fitzgerald didn't need no stinkin' lyrics. It's all phrasalish coloring.

Cars came out same year. Good year for faceless bands. Sorry I ever learned what Ric Ocasek looks like.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 15, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

And I'm looking at the other bands listed here. Except for a couple - has anyone listened to any music since Reagan was president?

Hey, I've got my Arcade Fire CD next me.

Want to buy it? It sucks. That's what I get for listening to critics.

Also have new Pearl Jam. It has an open invitation for the CD player.

Live album of Richard Thompson. The BEST musician no one has heard of.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 15, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Who (meaning Townsend) had two things after 1970, Who's Next and Quadrophenia. After that, pretty spotty.

"The Who By Numbers" is a great LP, not at all "spotty." "Slip Kid" is one of the best songs of the seventies.

Yes, kiddies, I said, "LP." I still have most of mine that I bought in the seventies and eighties.

As far as Boston is concerned, they sucked then, they suck now. Jesus Christ, even KISS's "Hotter Than Hell" holds a dearer place in my heart than Boston's sterile, soulless, corporate schlock rock.

Posted by: Ken on June 15, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, could you bring the guest bloggers back? Thanks.

Posted by: CJR on June 15, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Live album of Richard Thompson. The BEST musician no one has heard of.

Sweet Jesus, no! I'm agreeing with Red State Miiiiiiiiike! It buuuuuuurns!

Posted by: shortstop on June 15, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Boston's sterile, soulless, corporate schlock rock.

Boston was one man's vision. He played every instrument on the album. He produced the album with tender loving care, making sure every note was in its place, or he redid it.

So is it a live Lou Reed performance, broken strings and f%^&-ed up mike system and all? No. The Boston album wasn't performance art. It was an aural painting painstakingly drawn by one man.

And corporations will gladly whore themselves to cop killing rap thugs and Ozzy and Rolling Stones and whoever is hot and will take their $$$ (GWar's latest tour is corporate sponsored. Heh) So watch the "corporate schlock" insult.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 15, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, kiddies, I said, "LP."

What is this "ell pee" you speak of? Is it powerful? Dangerous? Valuable?

I will give you five knoner for it along with my stoutest sword, and no more.

Posted by: Hagar the Musicable on June 15, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

What's with all the flaming Norsemen around here lately?

Posted by: shortstop on June 15, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

What's with all the flaming Norsemen around here lately?

Somebody accidentally mentioned lukefisk upthread. Their search bots honed in immediately.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 15, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with the "shitty 70s music" crowd. I remember the first time I heard a Talking Heads song on the radio - Take Me to The River, as I recall. I about fell off my bed. Who *are* these people? What are they playing? More, please!

Posted by: EmmaAnne on June 15, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Vikings appear to be the new pirates.

Posted by: Boronx on June 15, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Rolling Stones haven't made a good record since "Emotional Rescue."

Posted by: Vincent on June 15, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Boston?? I kinda remember them.

After all, it's been such a long time. It's been such a looong tiiime.

Posted by: biggerbox on June 15, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ah the good old days, Boston playing on my 8 track, bell bottom jeans and reading Tolkein. (shiver)

Posted by: j swift on June 15, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK
What they really want to do is stomp Vonage and Skype (note: not slow lane, no lane), and require you to subscribe to their shitty overpriced VOIP "solution", and stomp all online video in favor of their own.

VoIP and video today, whatever other content they decide they can profit off of tomorrow. Its about leveraging control of the wires to narrow control of content, and avoiding all that pesky competition...

Posted by: cmdicely on June 15, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

X100

rockman... but I believe Scholz was way ahead of the curve on this.

Oh yeah. Bought one for my teenaged son (I was primarily an acoustic player at the time) but came to love it myself. He was an innovator.

Posted by: Indie on June 15, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, my 16 year old daughter and her friends listen to and dig Boston--something her father, who was around during the band's heyday, cannot fully condone.

Posted by: Paul Glastris on June 15, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

The youth of today listening to largely what they listened to in the 1970s? Wasn't there a whole thread or two about social mobility and wages stagnating in the US since the 70s relative to the rest of the human universe?

Posted by: cld on June 15, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, it's Boomer Central in here, isn't it? Sometimes a post comes along that just really reinforces that...

Honestly, Boston? AFAIC, they share the same alternate reality inhabited by Olivia Newton John exercise videos and anything by William Shatner.

Hell, I'd even say I'd rather listen to Kamahl, but then if you're not an Aussie you wouldn't get the reference.

"Why are people so unkind?"

Posted by: floopmeister on June 16, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Smart network or dumb pipe?" they ask, and surely the answer is obvious. Who'd want a dumb pipe if they could have a smart network instead? As it turns out, the answer is "just about everyone who knows anything about network design," but since that's a pretty small group it's still a slick slogan.

That must be "just about everyone who knows anything about network design" who stopped thinking or retired 10-20 years ago.

A "smart network" is, e.g., what brought you those half-assed POTS features controlled--and charged for--by your local telco (e.g., call forward, call blocking, etc.). The "network" shouldn't control those features, my phone, or designated proxy, should control those features.

Much of what passes for the hype about smart networks is nothing more than an excuse for centralizing and limiting control and choice that could and should be at the edge.

Posted by: has407 on June 16, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know what the Telcos were thinking, but the group Boston should sue them all for using their pipes.

Posted by: AnotherBruce on June 16, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

So glad I've got adblock plus, that way I don't have to see the fucking sellout ads all the bloggers are apologizing for. Just pull it if you feel so guilty...

Posted by: doug r on June 16, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Forget Boston, what's up with them ripping off Odd Todd?

Posted by: DwightSchrute on June 16, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Is the art work in reference to the tragedy of the commons? The Boston commons?

Posted by: Jozi on June 16, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

I went to college in Boston in the early 70s and I didn't like the band Boston then and I still don't.

Posted by: DBL on June 16, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK


That is such a rip off of their cover art. Oh well. I'm sure the copyright was up a decade or so ago, and its derivative enough not to matter.

Depending on who the copyright is assigned to, it's good until at least 2046. In my non-lawyerly opinion, it doesn't pass the fair use test. At least you can see the Citgo sign.

If your vinyl version is worn out, or you can't find your turntable, Scholtz just reissued a remastered CD this week.

Posted by: Jeff R. on June 16, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

RE: Journey as worst band ever - I saw them open for the Stones at the old JFK stadium in Philly. Never saw 100K people stand so still for so long in my life, especially considering the way the place had been moving for George Thorogood (then a regional act at least half the crowd had never heard of) just a few minutes before. That people pay to listen to that sludge is an even bigger mystery than that they vote for GWB.

"Neil Schon quit Santana for that?" - Schon quit Santana for the much cooler fusion version of Journey that sold about 8 records. He chose to put up with the Steve Perry version to be able to afford to play interesting music on his own time.

Posted by: VAMark on June 16, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

I'm of the Gen-X bracket that defined its taste against 70s rock, but now the cool kids have rebelled against that and are embracing AOR with a vengeance. Mind you, it might be more popular with the cool kids who populate ad agencies than the ones who read ads, but Boston is certainly more of a cult object now than they were in 1996.

An interesting anecdote: I've heard from an indie film producer friend that Boston was holding out for a cool million for the movie rights to "More Than a Feeling."

Posted by: Chris on June 16, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I thought it was a basic rule of thumb that bands named after things on the map (e.g., Boston, Kansas, Asia) all suck.

Does anyone have a counter-example?

Posted by: thalarctos on June 16, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Joel:
Totally agree. I don't really care what the kids think is cool right now, just like I didn't care what the 'rents thought when I was digging the Clash, Joe Jackson, The Specials, etc in 1979.

Since you didn't venture to Africa, I will:

Chimurenga from Zimbabwe by Artists like Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, The Four Brothers and The Bhundu Boys

Highlife from Nigeria by Artists like the Sweet Talks, Prince Nico Mbarga, Dr. Sir Warrior, The Oriental Brothers, Chief Stephen Osita Osidebe

Juju from Nigeria by Artists like King Sunny Ade, Segun Adewale, IK Dairo and Ebenezer Obey

Mbalax from Senegal by Artists like Baaba Maal, Ismael Lo, Salif Keita

Soukous and its precursor Rumba, also known as Congo Jazz, or Congo Rumba, from the DRC, by Artist like Franco (Le Grande Maitre), Nico, Tabu Ley, Zaiko Langa Langa, the Four Stars (Le Quatre Etoile), Thu Zahina, and Virunga.

And that just scratches the surface.

With the INTERNET, you dont need a cool older brother (like I had in the late 70s) to get into any kind of music. Essentially anything thats been recorded since 1900 is available online.

Full disclosure I loved Boston when they came out. I was also listening to Styx, Foghat and Jethro Tull at the time. Plus I had a serious Jim Morrison fetish. Plus, I LOVED the Who. But hey, I was young: what did I know?

PS> I got laid a lot in High School (well, OK: senior year), and in addition to the above, I listened to lots of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nast Cole and 40s swing, cuz my car (a bitchin silver Mustang II with red vinyl interior and a landau roof) only had an AM radio, forcing me to listen to WNEW am which was stuck in 1955.


Posted by: Steveconga on June 16, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

You know things are getting weird whey they use an Iggy Pop song ("Lust for Life") in a TV commercial. The day they use a Stooges song (say, "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell") will be a sign of the end times.

Posted by: Red on June 16, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Live album of Richard Thompson. The BEST musician no one has heard of."

I hate you less, Red State Mike.

"The Boston album wasn't performance art. It was an aural painting painstakingly drawn by one man."

Never Mind.


Posted by: brewmn on June 16, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Boston who? I'm fifty and I can't recall the band. Posted by: Carla

Yeah, that's them all right.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on June 16, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

cazart - I hate you so much I can't even say. I mean, I'm laughing, but still.

steveconga - you mention African music without hitting South African township jive? I gots to have me my Indestructible Beat of Soweto! Or even Remmy Ongala (Tanzania, his stuff is like juju/highlife, but more interesting)? Come on, man!

Posted by: mroberts on June 16, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I'm 23, and i think Boston rules. And I'm not ashamed to say it in front of any type of company

Posted by: J on June 16, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I thought it was a basic rule of thumb that bands named after things on the map (e.g., Boston, Kansas, Asia) all suck.

Does anyone have a counter-example?

Well, suckage is in the ear of the beholder, but perhaps you would concede that "Chicago" and "America" did not suck?

I was always skeptical of the food bands - Cream, Bread, MeatLoaf, Korn.

And who dissed the Who? C'mon. You guys are snobs.

I will, however, concede that the popularity of "Sylvia's Mother" makes me shake my head.

Posted by: Tripp on June 16, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Steveconga,

my car (a bitchin silver Mustang II with red vinyl interior and a landau roof)

All right now you are just rubbing it in.

Posted by: Tripp on June 16, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK
With the INTERNET, you dont need a cool older brother (like I had in the late 70s) to get into any kind of music. Essentially anything thats been recorded since 1900 is available online.

Which doesn't serve the function of the cool older brother at all; the cool older brother is a filter that clues you into the good stuff.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Steveconga, for my money Mali is donde esta la accion: Ali Farka Tour and Tinariwen are both awesome. Also, if you don't have it already you should check out World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's a Real Thing, a Luaka Bop compilation of '70s African psychedelic funk. Wonderful stuff.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on June 16, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Boston still rocks!!!!

Posted by: Joseph on June 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm 23, and i think Boston rules. And I'm not ashamed to say it in front of any type of company
Posted by: J

I'm sure you are a huge disappointment to your parents.

Posted by: JeffII on June 16, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, suckage is in the ear of the beholder, but perhaps you would concede that "Chicago" and "America" did not suck?

Good counter-examples! I do so concede.

Posted by: thalarctos on June 16, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about not following up sooner - eric posted:

"Uh Zandru:

Is the word Boston written in almost identical script to the Boston album in Kevin's head?"

Wow! No, I didn't notice that; the graphic was a little small for me. Upon closer observation, I see that all you guys appear to be right ... the classic domed city seems to have been clipped right off the Boston album cover. (duh!)

I'm sorry - will try to be more observant next time. Thanks for letting me know.

I also agree that the Boston art looked more like "Cities in Flight"...

Posted by: Zandru on June 16, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Tom & Mroberts:
I SAID it was a partial list...! LOL
I love Remy Ongala, and totally dig the way the older rumba style from Congo has been maintained and given new life in Tanzania and Kenya, by both Congolese ex-pats and locals. Big on Mose se Fan-fan, too
I've seen Virunga live and they just kick *ss...

Love Ali Farka, too - probably should have mentioned Orchestre Baobab as well, but just didn't get there.

Major mistake to neglect to mention South Africa -
my bad.
Never been much on Fela or Femi, though.

Going to see The Refugee Allstars from Sierra Leone tonight, as a matter of fact. Should be a great show...

Posted by: steveconga on June 16, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm quite surprised no one has even mentioned the REM reference in the cartoon. The guy in the car sees a billboard that reads "It's the END of the World Wide Web as we know it." And his response is, "Huh. I feel fine." This is, of course, a play on the refrain of the REM song It's the End of World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (one of the very few REM songs I like, though IMO it owes a lot to Subterranean Homesick Blues and was itself copied by Billy Joel in We Didn't Start the Fire.)

So the music references are not limited to the Boston one.

Posted by: Mitch Schindler on June 16, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Is that the album with "More Than A Feeling" on it? Because that song was included in the recent "Guitar Hero" game for the PS2, so it's possible people heard it, liked it, and went to get the album.

For the record, I'm 25, and my entire knowledge of Boston boils down to three things:
1.) I think they might have been on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Not sure, though.
2.) Guitar Hero features "More Than A Feeling", and it's one of the easier songs in the game.
3.) "More Than A Feeling" is apparently "The Ultimate Song", according to an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

This means I know three times as much about Boston as I do Kansas.

Posted by: Kenneth on June 16, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oy, Boston. I thought "Third Stage" was a badass tape when I was 11 or so. Bought their back catalog in 7th grade. I had no taste whatsoever at that age, admittedly.

They were ahead of their time in production values, and better than most of their peers in the cheese-rock anthem department. Faint praise to be sure, but there you have it.

Posted by: ajl on June 16, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

You know things are getting weird whey they use an Iggy Pop song ("Lust for Life") in a TV commercial. The day they use a Stooges song (say, "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell") will be a sign of the end times.

No, I already saw the sign of the end times this week. The Who's "Magic Bus" playing behind an ad for a minivan!!!! There is no god.
Also, while I loved that first Boston album as a Sr. in high school when it was released, I have come to realize that it was the harbinger of terrible music to come. From my perspective it went:
Led Zepplin led to Boston which helped spawn Journey (Steve Perry version) which helped doom ZZ Top and Heart to corporate hard rock hell. These abominations marched us towards the hair metal 80's sound which wasn't killed off until Nirvana came around in 1991.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on June 16, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

They were ahead of their time in production values,. . . Posted by: ajl

Heyzeus! Any idiot can make an album sound great with 32-tracks and months to play with it. Furthermore, Todd Rundgren had done it all before much better.

The greatest pop producer since 1963 has been George Martin. Listen to any Beatles album from Rubber Soul on, and in particular the oft-maligned Sgt. Peppers, and remember that all their work was done with 4-track tapes.

Posted by: JeffII on June 16, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK
The Who (meaning Townsend) had two things after 1970, Who's Next and Quadrophenia. After that, pretty spotty.

Who's Next remains an outstanding album. Nearly every song is excellent. Again, to only acknowledge it after being called out is weak.

Clapton spent most of the 1970s addicted to herion and producing little of lasting value other than the Derek and the Dominoes album.

Ad hominem attack aside, you are missing some great Clapton albums if you think he didn't do anything worthwhile in the early 70s aside from Derek and the Dominoes. Specifically I refer you to his first solo eponymous album. "Let it Rain" remains one of the best songs in rock-n-roll. His cover of JJ Cale's "After Midnight" on this album is so good that people think he wrote the song. Finally the first track, "Slunky", is an instrumental that is simply fantastic, especially if you are a Derek and the Dominoes fan; furthermore, the track holds up quite well to this day. Your loss if you aren't willing to see this. Beyond that, several other albums had some great tunes, not limited to just his outstanding covers. I specifically refer you to Slowhand, 1976, ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the top 500 albums of all time.

I said I hold dear a dozen or so Zepplin tunes, but they were done for after Physical Graffiti.

Again, I call this damning with faint praise. A dozen or so tunes? Led Zepplin I and II are both full of great tunes (admitedly this is before your 1970-76 timeframe). There's your dozen right there. The we have the next 3 albums, again chock full of great rock-n-roll. I'll agree that CODA isn't realy worth listening to, and I'm not a huge fan of film soundtrack albums (Song Remains the Same), yet to casually dismiss it as unworthy of note, again seems weak.

Posted by: Edo on June 16, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK
The greatest pop producer since 1963 has been George Martin. Listen to any Beatles album from Rubber Soul on, and in particular the oft-maligned Sgt. Peppers, and remember that all their work was done with 4-track tapes.

My previous post notwithstanding, this comment is spot-on. Open your ears to some of Rock's greatest moments in the early 70s and I'll have no issues with you. ;->

Posted by: Edo on June 16, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

The hipsters of my generation (x) allowed themselves to listen to this sort of thing, but you had to do so with a touch of irony. My hot southern friend Laurie and I used to drive around in her mother's Honda with the seats reclined and the windows open listening to STYX and smoking cigarettes. She'd circle around little grouplets of skater boys and wink at them, blow kisses.

As a general rule, bands named after places (Boston, Chicago, Texas, etc) are bad, but records named after places (Nebraska, Los Angeles, New York) are often quite good.

Posted by: Linus on June 16, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Linus said "As a general rule, bands named after places (Boston, Chicago, Texas, etc) are bad, but records named after places (Nebraska, Los Angeles, New York) are often quite good."

Chicago was bad???

Posted by: Zandru on June 17, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK
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