Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smith College Professor of Music Steve Waksman reads from his new book "This Ain't The Summer of Love" this Friday, April 3rd, 6:30, Dynamite Records.

Steve Waksman, who my friend and colleague Brendan calls The Professor of Rock and Roll, does in fact have a PhD and is a Professor of Music at Smith College. I always see Steve walking to or from work with his rock hair and briefcase wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt. While some of us are content to wax nostalgic about the days of $6.50 GA concert tickets and cleaning weed in gate-fold album covers with spine gullies for easy seed roll-off, he's written his second book about the era and is doing a reading and signing at Dynamite Records this Friday, April 3rd at 6:30. The book is This Ain't The Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk. A blurb reads: "Instead of considering metal and punk as aesthetically opposed to each other, Steve Waksman breaks new ground by showing that a profound connection exists between them. Metal and punk enjoyed a charged, intimate relationship that informed both genres in terms of sound, image, and discourse."

The title of the book is drawn from the lead off cut on Blue Oyster Cult's breakthrough 1976 album Agents of Fortune, which included their biggest hit Don't Fear The Reaper, later lampooned in a now classic Saturday Night Live skit featuring a cowbell and Christopher Walken. Agents of Fortune was in fact a gatefold album and along with Houses of The Holy is the jacket I recall being used most often for separating the weed from the seed. Though everyone had their favorite. It seemed that involving the album in the actual marijuana smoking ritual was synergistic. The album gave twice, first with the cleaning, then with the awesome tunes. Pete Stoneham, back at Amherst High School in 1980, once theorized that it was no coincidence that the best albums to listen to when high were also the ones with the gatefolds. He went so far as to say it was the bands' secret gift, a sort of stoner wink to their fans.
Below, the open gatefold of "Agents" with seed ravine clearly visible at center.Blue Oyster Cult's ass-kicking double live album "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees" actually required the gatefold to accomodate the second album, unlike the gratuitous use of a gatefold on single albums. (Part of Stoneham's evidence for his claim.) Below, front of album and interior.
Again note pronounced seed run-off ravine.
Below (poorly cropped) is the inner gatefold of House of the Holy. I think I can still see a few flecks of pot in the crack. Of the album, not the guy's ass.
For the uninitiated, the process works likes this. You hold the album between your legs, letting the spine dip down ever so slightly so that the jacket has a very shallow incline. A mellow, very wide V. You put the stuff on one side and then sort of scrape it upwards with a playing card, over and over, letting the seeds roll down into the gutter.

4 comments:

~PR Blake said...

My eyes have been opened! I've always known that some people weren't that good at throwing a Frisbee, now I know how they rolled.

Side Note: The sleeve to Led Zep's "In Through the Out Door" was printed with the "just add water to it" paper that turns it into watercolor paints. Obviously discovered by wasted partiers guilty of major spillage.

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