The 10 Best Butt-Rock Bands In Recorded History

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Note: this article originally appeared on April 17, 2014. Happy Thanksgiving!

What is butt-rock, you ask? As usual, we've got all your answers, courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

A derogatory term for any hard-rock music.

The term comes from a nationwide advertising campaign on hard-rock radio stations in the 1990s that used the tagline "Rock. Nothing but Rock." Listeners quickly changed that to "Nothing Butt Rock." Though it refers to anything played on hard-rock stations, it commonly is used to refer to 'hair-bands' or used by people to distinguish the 'bad' butt rock from the hard rock that they like.

Example: "He sat around stoned all day listening to butt rock on the 'Wild Hare.'"

Butt-rock is that musical stank on your shoe that you can't get off. It's one part aggro noise, one part self-indulgent and whiny singer, and somehow a whole lot of douche.


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Neil Young Firmly In the Driver's Seat on Special Deluxe

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toplowridersites.com
Neil Young's lifelong fascination with classic cars comes to the page in "Special Deluxe; this shot is from his recent road movie/documentary "Neil Young Journeys."
Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars
By Neil Young
Blue Rider Press, 384 pp., $32.

Fans of Canada's Greatest Musical Export were happy to hear that he would be delivering a second, meaty memoir just two years after the well-received Waging Heavy Peace. Take that, Dylan! We've been waiting over a decade for the promised follow-up to the slim Chronicles, Vol. 1.

However, the news that Young's second volume would be recollections of the noted gearhead's large collection of cars he has owned, did not seem so enticing. Fortunately the book's 40 chapters, each illustrated with Young's own hand-colored vehicle drawings, use cars and his adventures with and in them simply as a jumping off-point. He weaves tales of his music, life, and famed collaborators within.


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New Albums By Classic-Rock Greats...What Year Is It Again?

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Kevin Burkett via Flickr
Statues from Pink Floyd's "The Division Bell" tour on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
I miss albums. Not specifically the 12" dual-sided flat of vinyl that some may envision upon reading that word, but the concept of an album: a cohesive piece of work that, from the first track to the last, is meant to be taken in by the listener in one entire sitting. Sadly that experience has been all but lost thanks to the track-by-track purchase option of digital downloads, which started about a decade ago, combined with the loss of many brick-and-mortar music stores.

I miss that feeling I received spending teenage nights sitting in a dark bedroom, with my huge KOSS headphones on listening to albums and becoming immersed in the artists' 40-minute visions. Surprisingly, it took an album of near outtakes to experience that again.


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More Unreleased Pink Floyd Material That Should Come Out

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The Endless River, Pink Floyd's first new album in 20 years, isn't the only unreleased material that exists.
This past week, Pink Floyd released their first album in 20 years, The Endless River, culled from recording sessions that took place in 1994 around the time of their last album, The Division Bell. While peppered with outtakes, it sounds like a cohesive, complete work, and it is definitely an accomplished work in its own right.

That being said, hardcore Floydians know that this isn't all that's left in the vault. While much of it has been bootlegged, several more full albums' worth of material recorded throughout the band's career are just sitting around waiting for an official release. Here are a few others I'd love to see the band issue for the first time.


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Robert Plant Is Ever the Sensational Space Shifter

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Photo by Jason Wolter
Robert Plant at Bayou Music Center, June 2013
Robert Plant: The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin
By Dave Thompson
Backbeat Books, 280 pp., $27.99.

He's been in a laundry list of bands: The Crawling King Snakes. The Honeydrippers. Strange Sensation. The Band of Joy (twice). The Priory of Brion. And the Sensational Space Shifters. There's also that solo career and collaborations.

But of course, Robert Plant's musical legacy and career is inevitably tied to just one group: Led Zeppelin. Not that he's -- to the chagrin, frustration, and disappointment of millions (including his former bandmates) -- tied to it.

Zeppelin reissues and history-burnishing? Let Jimmy Page handle it. Reunions? A handful of one-off disastrous appearances. A full-on tour after the band's hugely successful they-still-got-it two hour show in 2007? Not a chance.


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Psychedelic Furs & the Lemonheads at House of Blues, 11/2/2014

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Photos by Jason Wolter
Psychedelic Furs, the Lemonheads, Night Drive
House of Blues
November 2nd, 2014

Each month, countless bands tour the United States on the nostalgia ticket. What these shows generally present is a fond recollection of a time when both the band and the audience were fresher and tighter; the concert experience triggering a collective "Remember when?" for all involved. The nostalgia is often the best part of these shows, as the bands generally don't sound nearly as together as they did in the past.

Refreshingly, and somewhat surprisingly, Sunday night's Psychedelic Furs show was not this type of concert whatsoever. Despite striking an obvious reminiscent chord with its audience, the band's sound and performance were very much in the present.


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Jim Peterik Still Has That Eye of the Tiger

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Photo by Lynne Peters
Survivor co-founder Jim Peterik, who has developed a fondness for purple hair dye, today.
An answering-machine message not only changed Jim Peterik's life forever, but led to the creation of one of the '80s biggest anthems that can still be heard all over the place some three decades later.

"When I played the message, I thought someone was pranking me, because our road manager, Sal, did a pretty good impression of Sylvester Stallone," Peterik says today.

But no, it was legit: the actor/director was putting together Rocky III and needed a blood-pumping song to start the movie off after his original choice, Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," proved unattainable.

"The message was like 'Yo, Jim, that's a nice answering machine message you got there!" Peterik says with his own impression. "I really like that song you have called 'Poor Man's Son.' It's got a street sound, and I want that for my movie!"


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Remembering Jack Bruce, Cream's Gentleman Bassist

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Photo by Marek Hofman
Jack Bruce with a constant companion.
Note: Cream bassist and lead vocalist Jack Bruce, universally recognized among his peers as one of the greatest instrumental talents in rock history, passed away last Saturday at age 71. Rocks Off's Bob Ruggiero was lucky enough to speak with Bruce this past spring, and would like to re-run this interview that originally appeared on May 6.

He's best known to the average classic-rock fan for the scant time in the '60s, fewer than three years, that he spent singing and playing bass for a quiet little trio named Cream, alongside subdued guitarist Eric Clapton and noted shy-guy drummer Ginger Baker. But Jack Bruce has certainly had a multi-hued career since those acid-drenched days of white rooms, strange brews and tales of brave Ulysses.

In addition to his work with other groups and collaborators, Bruce has also released a series of very-much-underrated solo efforts, beginning in 1969 with Songs for a Tailor up through 2003's More Jack Than God. In these discs he stretched out not only his string-thumping, but also the genres he explores in his material, in particular his leanings to and love for jazz.


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Heart at Stafford Centre, 10/22/2014

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Photos by Jason Wolter
Heart
Stafford Centre
October 22, 2014

The tone of this review has already changed between Wednesday evening's Heart concert and today's news of Walters owner Pam Robinson's passing; in my case it was a matter of a simple drive into the office. It would have been a great show coming or going, but now it seems more important than ever to underline the achievements of strong women in music.

Although a lot has changed since the mid-'70s, the music industry is still dominated by men, locally, nationally and internationally. But if it's less dominated by men now than it was back then -- and it most certainly is -- it's because of the contributions of people like Robinson and Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson.


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When the U.S. Caught Beatlemania, Larry Kane Was There

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Larry Kane
Larry Kane (center) with Paul McCartney and John Lennon aboard the Beatles' airplane on the 1964 U.S. tour.
Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour That Changed the World
By Larry Kane
Backbeat Books, 272 pp. (w/CD), $24.99

"What's your problem, man? Why are you dressed like a fag-ass?"

It was an inauspicious and unexpected question/accusation directed at Larry Kane, a fresh-faced 21-year-old radio news reporter from Miami. It was also the shocked journalist's first encounter with John Lennon, a member of the new pop group from England called the Beatles. Kane had been assigned to travel with them, covering the band's first U.S. tour.

The fact that Lennon was just taking the mickey out of the conservatively-dressed Kane at a reception, he got later. And as the only U.S. journalist to tour with the group on both their 1964 and 1965 jaunts, he saw and heard incidents and events that don't appear in any other tome on the Fab Four.


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