Reax to Sir Rocknuts: The List (And The Site) Is A Trip

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We at Rocknuts are excited to welcome Rich Karfilis to our crew. Rich starts off with his reaction to Sir Rocknuts’ personal top 100 list.

James Brown in 1973Let me say off the top what a thrill it is to be here — a place for a lively and informed conversation about music without the holier-than-thou snoot show found on most music sites. Let’s face it, nobody should pretend to know it all, because nobody can ever hear it all. There shouldn’t be a right or wrong when it comes to this stuff.

Sure, there are some generally acknowledged truths about Rock, but beyond those it’s all about personal taste and sharing ideas. Let’s bring it on. This is the best part of the trip: this is the trip.

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I knew Sir Rocknuts’ Top 100 Magna Carta was a good list when I saw Richard Thompson on it. I was tickled to see Ben Harper and Spoon and Eels and Nick Cave. There are probably around 60 artists on the list that I would include on my own list, but then again, there are at least 20 artists that surely would be on everyone’s list.

Choosing to include the runners-up and honorable mentions was a nice hedge, and a nice touch, and several of my choices would have come from these categories. Sir Rock touched a lot of bases, and for that I genuflect grandly in his direction.

If it were up to me, I would modify the criteria a little bit. “Impactful”, “important” and “significant” are all good, but I would add “originality” as a consideration. I don’t think you belong on a list like this unless you have an original, distinctive sound all your own. In my book this would disqualify bands like Meat Puppets, Soul Distortion and Vanilla Fudge, and elevate artists like Beck, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Vampire Weekend. But that’s just me.

To be honest I found Sir Rock’s qualifiers and disclaimers troublesome and confusing. How can you have Booker T. and Otis Redding on the list, but not Aretha or James Brown? How can you have Leonard Cohen but not Joni Mitchell? Does Leonard rock harder? And why the arbitrary ban on jam bands? Beyond Dave Matthews and maybe Phish, none of the others would qualify on the basis of importance and significance, would they?

Personally I’d open the gates and let ‘em all qualify. But I subscribe to the “Big Tent” theory of Rock, and that’s a subject for another day on the journey.

Photo: James Brown performing in Germany in 1973. Credit: By Heinrich Klaffs [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One comment on “Reax to Sir Rocknuts: The List (And The Site) Is A Trip
  1. Great point on originality! I consider a band “great” when they’ve influenced other bands, and they can only really do that when they do something new…

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