Pub-rock Friday

Dear Violet,

I’m glad you enjoyed the Queen clip. Space shanties are one of my favorite microgenres, so you can see why that Brian May jam speaks to me. In fact, as I may have mentioned to you earlier on the GYacht (h/t B&S friend BS), there’s a touching moment in The Making of A Night at the Opera where Brian May gets a little misty-eyed lamenting the fact that ’39 was never released as a single and thus never became the Hit he always felt it shoulda been. I agree, obv. (Besides, the tambourine is the hit-maker!)

Anyway, I want to talk about a slightly broader genre for a moment. As you know (or not), I spend some small number of my evenings playing pub-rock records at various establishments around the Non-Specific Midwestern Metropolis.

So naturally, a lot of people end up asking me “Hey so what exactly is pub-rock?”

I always have a little trouble answering that question. It always ends up being something like “mostly-but-not-limited-to second-tier post-glam pre-punk backwards-looking rock from the UK,” which is never quite satisfying to me. This seems like a decent little synopsis:

The whole premise of Pub Rock was to inject an atmosphere of “good-time” into a music scene that had begun to take itself far too seriously for its own health. Except for a few mavericks, most pub bands chose to mine three motherlodes. Hard-nosed R&B revivalism (Dr. Feelgood, Kilburn & The Highroads, Ace, Ducks Deluxe, The Winkies, Roogalator, Michigan Flyers); Fatback Funk (Kokomo, Clancy, FBI, Moon, Cado Belle, G.T. Moore & His Reggae Guitars, Palm Beach Express); Country Rock (The Brinsleys, Kursaal Flyers, Byzantium, Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers).

I tend to take a slightly more expansive view and am willing to allow higher-profile arena-rock of Celtic (Thin Lizzy) or Aussie grill-rock (AC/DC) origin as well folks more often identified as glam (Cockney Rebel, Be Bop Deluxe), punk or new wave (Stranglers, Undertones), or 80s college rock (Big Dipper). This has the effect of sometimes reinforcing the notions of folks who hear “pub-rock” and think “jukebox favorites” or somesuch. But hey, it’s all pop music, right?

So, I think every Friday I’m gonna try to post a different pub-rock video. And I’m gonna start with maybe the weirdest one I could find. This is a French band called Little Bob Story. Honestly, I don’t know much of anything about this band or even if Little Bob Story is actually the name of the band or just, well, that little guy in front. But this is a cover of a Ducks Deluxe song and I think it can’t help but make your day better:

Rock & Roll,

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  • Violet G. Beekeeper  On 31 July, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    Sometimes (last night) Mr. Beekeeper and I take my parent’s Saab and roll down the windows and pretend we are in a Camaro. In Ohio. In 1979. And we are 17. Is what we listen to when we do that Pub Rock?

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