Saturday, October 31, 2020

20 Cool Potential Band Names Taken From Guided By Voices Song Titles!

When my ass is king, there will be an immediate and strictly-enforced five-year moratorium on band names not taken from Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices songs.

Let's face it, as someone who has tried and miserably failed to ever come up with a truly great band name, myself, the music of Robert Pollard may be too much for the mainstream to wrap its tiny, "Housewives of Madison County" brain around. then perhaps Pollard's greatest gift to society (what's left of it, anyway) will be to inject the Top 40 rock charts (what's left of them, anyway) with some fucking style and pizazz.

You don't even have to like Guided By Voices to see the genius of a man who, if we have anything to say about it, will go down in history as a one-man band name generator, so, before you name that next band of yours after your favorite childhood cat, check out these ten cool band names taken from Guided By Voices songs! 

Keep in mind that any one of these is ripe for the taking...you can thank me (and Bob, of course) in the liner notes.

1. Dead Liquor Store

2. Alex & The Omegas

3. The Bone Church

4. Cinnamon Flavored Skulls

5. High Five Hall Of Famers

6. Cul de Sac Kids

7. Angelic Weirdness

8. Look, It's Baseball!

9. Bomb The Bee-Hive

10. Delayed Reaction Brats

If you've read this far and haven't already run to see if the dot com is available on some of these names, then perhaps this next batch will pinken your bottom.

11. The Caterpillar Workforce (better hop on this one before Robyn Hitchcock does)

12. Nightmare Jamboree (the name alone will get you booked at The Hideout, no questions asked) 

13. Cold War Water Sports

14. Laundry and Lasers

15. Temporary Shakedown

16. Cheap Buttons

17. Low Flying Perfection

18. The Candyland Riots

19. Some Drilling Implied 

20. Short On Posters (I mean, back when you could hang posters, this would have been funny to see...on a poster.)

Friday, October 30, 2020

End Of Days: Defending Europe's "The Final Countdown"!


When one thinks about how many times hair metal heavyweights Bon Jovi have been the top-grossing concert act in the United States, yet they've never given us a tune even half as catchy as Europe's "The Final Countdown", it becomes glaringly obvious that we as a people have lost our way.

Don't pretend you don't find yourself singing that song's majestic synthesizer riff long after hearing it at the supermarket, yet, more times than not, the song is treated as a punchline to a joke more and more people think is funny.


Based on that song alone, Europe should be playing stadiums in this country where all they do is riff out on "The Final Countdown" for half an hour, take a fifteen-minute  intermission, and then come back out to play "The Final Countdown" because we haven't waved our Bic lighters apps on our cell phones for a half an hour.

And for an encore, they perform "The Final Countdown" with a full symphony orchestra!

Can you say "eargasm"? I knew you could. 

Next day at school, every kid with ears and/or legs would be wearing their brand new "The FINAL Final Countdown, We Promise IV" tour shirt. Those who don't are socially shunned, and rightfully so. 

Now, you're probably wondering if there are any opening acts at a Europe show. The answer is, thankfully, No. 

Not only do the members of Europe recognize their place in the pantheon of rock & roll, they also don't want to keep us out past our bedtimes on a school night.

This is, after all, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN and it pays to be well-rested.

In reality, the last time I heard anyone but me talking about "The Final Countdown", it was a group of teenage kids making fun of it as it played at concert volume in a Dave & Buster's.

Even as the very synth riff for which the word "elegiac" had been invented drowned out the seductive ring-a-ding-dinging of a thousand arcade machines, I could still barely hear the song over them arguing back-and-forth about which band actually performed the song.

With ever-present cell phones in front of them, they still managed to come up with a frightening range of incorrect guesses, from Billy Squier to Poison to Nelson (!) before deciding as a group that it must have been ... BON JOVI.

I hate to admit it, but those crazy kids did get it half right.

You see, Europe are Sweden's Bon Jovi, driving up sales of hair spray for five decades, while scoring a career run of nine Top 10 albums, eight Top 10 singles, and sold-out stadiums for just as long as Bon Jovi have been doing the same here in the States. 

Over yonder der in Sveden, doh, "The Final Countdown" went to #1", whereas it only got to #18 in the States. Can you believe that nonsense?

Wait, it gets worse. 

Did you also know that "The Final Countdown" wasn't even Europe's biggest U.S. hit?

I won't even tell you which song actually made it to #9 because, hey, why dig up a memory that you've successfully repressed? 

Hint: It wasn't "Carrie" or "Rock The Night", which both went Top 40 in the U.S., which raises the question: "If Europe scored four Top 40 hits in the U.S., two of which went Top 20, why the hell aren't they playing U.S. stadiums to this day?"

I'll tell you why: Because there can only be one Bon Jovi in this country and we already have ours, gosh darn it. Maybe we can work out a trade with Sweden, just for a few years to mix things up a bit. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Good Things Come In Threes: 3 Cool Bands We Discovered During The Pandemic!


Did anybody else go into the pandemic with the mindset of breaking out of their musical comfort zone because, hey, life is short? Easier said than done, though, because, when the future is uncertain, we tend to fall back upon that which harkens back to simpler, safer times.

So, what does "breaking out of my musical comfort zone" entail, you ask? I knew you would.

1. I can't be spending money on music because I'm not so fucking sure where my next tenner is coming from so, since I loathe Spotify for paying their creators less than a penny per play while throwing up their nickers for Joe Rogan to the tune of $100 million dollars. So Youtube it is.

2. Ever listened to an album on Youtube, staring for 40 minutes at a blank screen, or a still of the band's cover art, or worse yet, some overly-ambitious LYRIC VIDEO slapped together by the interns at UniSonyScopeJam Records? Not fun. Plus, fuck the glaringly obvious Pro Tools wizardry. Live bands it is!

3. Current bands only, no using this downtime to go back in time. Remember when we fell in love with the Beatles as kids? Yeah, it was 1976 and, when our parents told us they'd broken up years earlier, they may as well have told us there was no Santa. Point being, let's not fall in love with a band that we can't go see live once this pandemic has receded. Much as it may be enjoyable to retrace Genesis's footsteps from theatrical prog visionaries to men who can't dance, knowing full-well that Phil Collins ailing health makes the idea of ever seeing Genesis a no-go. Let's throw our money at a band that still exists and is out there working their asses off. Only bands that still exist it is!

I'm out of gas and my mocha frappe is melting so, with further adieu do do de da da da, here are three bands who've managed to a) keep my interest and b) make me wish my last band had gone the two drummers route. How fun!


1. The(e O(h)Sees

Speaking of bands with two drummers, Jon Dwyer's musical collective have gelled into a super-tight live band with the uncanny ability to make you watch two drummers duke it out for 90 minutes. Watching their interplay is interesting in a variety of ways:

What is the body language saying?

Is the bearded guy doing most of the heavy lifting? Paul (the other guy) looks like he's fighting for his life, but then I see an old video of when he was the band's sole drummer and the motherfucker was a machine. He must hae a resting heart rate of twelve. I lose five pounds just by watching him.

As for Dwyer, he sure does like that microphone. Mind you, in the pandemic age, watching old footage of him swallowing the mic might set off one's puke mechanism, Christ, I hope that's not a house mic.

If you're at all curious where the bass fits in, check the clip above.


2. The Viagra Boys

If you're wondering why it took us so long to give these newly hipster-approved Swedes a listen, consider for a moment that the name is so bad, we're lucky we ever "discovered" them at all. Ugh. But, hey, The Hives was an awful name, too and those guys are STILL on our to-do list.

The fact that the first single of theirs was called "Sports", combined with the fact that the thumbnail accompanying said video on YouTube was of a shirtless guy with to sleeves and a chest full of tats standing in the middle of an active tennis game appealed to us that that moment.

Needless to say, we weren't disappointed. The song isn't much, but the visual comedy skills of the singer was more than enough for me to watch the next video, "Research Chemicals". Guy plays the same character, detached from the reality that takes place around him. There's an almost Andy Kaufman-esque flair to the way Seb Murphy plays the stereotypical junkie singer, so am I being put-on here? Is this some Flight Of The Conchords thing? Do they have their own show on Apple TV+ already?

So I typed "viagra boys live" into the YouTube search engine while rolling my eyes, knowing full well that if I'd typed this into Google, the ads they'd have picked out for me from that point on woul make it nigh impossible to keep an office job.

As I gazed at the search results, I did something that I never do and clicked on the video at the top of the list . Any other time, if there's a reasonable amount to choose from, I like to grab something from aa little further down.

I figured I'd last five minutes. Instead, I'm on my twentieth viewing.

3. The Claypool-Lennon Delirium

Hey, when I say that I'm going to leave my musical comfort zone, I fucking mean it. Not only was I decidedly anti-Primus during their MTV heyday, I'm probably not alone in thinking Sean Lennon inherited most of his musical talent from Yoko, so what made me tune in at all, you ask?

Fair enough. As it turns out, I noticed quite gradually that Les Claypool had morphed into a very distinguished gentleman. More accurately, he and his visual stylist had crafted such an interesting look for this older musician that I decided to see what Primus actually sounded like some twenty years or so since I'd last given them even a passing thought.

Long story short, I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole, devoured ten years of Primus live concerts in a single night, and came to the conclusion that they weren't awful.

About a month later, I saw the words "Claypool" and "Lennon" right next to each other and proceeded to put the words "What", "The", "Actual" and "Fuck" next to one another at considerable volume.

<MOTHERFUCKING CLICK> went my mouse finger.

Within two or three songs, I was hooked. I'm pretty sure that I've seen every show this band has played, from fan-shot TikToks to five-camera, pro shot performances with some of the most pristine audio to come out my Yamaha HS-8's.

Musically, yeah, they're alright, but what keeps my mind engaged (which is what it's truly all about) is my desire to know just why Les Claypool would be involved in such a project?

Much like the family and friends who constantly talk about the ego trips and power battles taking place on their favorite reality shows, I get my fix of the human dynamic by soaking up the visual nuances, from the stage clothing to the choice of instrumentation, paying careful attention to the body language between musicians.

Those of us "in the biz" can't help but dissect onstage interactions between bandmates to decipher who's driving the ship and who's just a hired gun along for the ride. Maybe the interplay between Les and Lennon will help solve the riddle as to what either one is truly getting out of this whole endeavor.

Can John Lennon's youngest son prove to us that he didn't just throw so much of his dad's money
at Les that he had to at least give it the ol' college try.

Don't pretend that you weren't thinking the same thing, all I did was type it out-loud.

Maybe the whole time Mr. Pork Soda was setting up his rig, his most evil inner voice was reading him the riot act. After an hour or so of watching Lennon like a hawk, Claypool must've arrived at the conclusion that beneath Lennon's inherited wealth and recognition was a kid who just wanted to express himself musically, but, unlike every other musician on the planet, everything this kid does will be immediately and forever be judged against his father's best work. 

Can you imagine that?


Friday, October 23, 2020

The $64,000 Question: When Is The Dream Over?


From the moment I first picked up an instrument in high school and decided that rock & roll was going to be my life, my social life immediately began to suffer. Friends with whom I had spent countless days, months and years playing sports or talking about girls were the first to notice my sudden unavailability after school.

Within weeks, they had developed new friends, eventually no longer thinking to ask if I might have wanted to join them on their trips to the mall, movies, or concerts and I still sucked at playing drums, yet I persisted, knowing that the trade-off for becoming a decent drummer might be that my ability to relate to my fellow teenage high school knuckleheads might suffer.

Even though I was aware of this trade-off and made my decision willingly, little did I know just how much I would lose my ability to relate to "the real world" once I became part of "the entertainment industry".

You see, the fact that this "rock & roll thing" had absolutely nothing to do with the real world was a large part of my reasoning for choosing that particular path in the first place. It was a decision that was made, quite frankly, not too long after my parents informed me in no uncertain terms that I'd be turning 18 soon and, therefore, would be an adult soon.

In other words, according to my very traditional parents, it was time for their oldest kid (me!) to become an adult and join the gruesome work-a-day world.

As you can probably imagine, I was not thrilled.

After all, my parents hadn't exactly made being an adult look like any fucking fun at all, what with all the moving from one town to another for some soul-sucking Sears & Roebuck manager gig. When he wasn't off "making some bacon", the one image I have of my father is of him walking in the door, kissing my mother, and then promptly collapsing in a heap on the couch from total exhaustion and being dead to the world for much of the rest of the evening.

If that was adulthood, I wanted no part of it, yet there he was letting me know that the time had come for me to be as miserable as him.

That's when I informed him in no uncertain terms that if he thought I was going to stumble down that very same path, he had another thing coming. 

No, music was my bag and my only goal in life was to be a working musician and recording artist.

The look on his face when those words entered his ear holes was one of complete dismay, as if trying to understand someone speaking to him in a foreign tongue and deciding that they must just be an idiot for not speaking English, like him.

I don't think we ever saw eye-to-eye about anything from that day until his death, some twenty years later at the age of 59.

If anything, his early demise only instilled in me a desire to cram as much fun as possible into one lifetime as I possibly could because there were no guarantees that any of us might live long enough to enjoy retirement.

Thing is, by that time, the wheels had already come off what remained of my rock & roll dream, which, by the ripe old age of 37, consisted mostly of rowdy bar gigs and dealing with sketchy weasels at all levels of the industry. The major label deal I had sought for so long had come and gone with jack-shit to show for it and I could no longer even remember what I'd spent the $150k in combined advances on.

My fellow musicians would laugh when I said such things and tell me that part of not knowing where all the money went meant that I must be doing something right, HAR HAR, and I believed them for a good long time. But then one day I realized that the stunning, and admittedly bat-shit crazy, rocker babes I had been attracting since my very first Chicago club gigs had disappeared and all that remained were the crazy ones.

The worst part was that I looked every single minute of my 37 years on this planet and yet I was still convinced that my life and career was progressing just fine. Also, by remaining in L.A., I could continue to bullshit myself that I was nowhere near as bad as a lot of folks in that town who had actually tasted fame and were still desperately seeking another dose, even as Father Time landed one knockout punch after another.

Hilariously, it would take moving back to my favorite city (Chicago), putting together the absolute
best version of my band (with Ted & Mike from Material Issue), and attempting to re-establish myself on the Chitown rock scene for me to realize that this wasn't a career, it was a fucking rut.

Even now, some ten years after that realization, I still find the pull of potential fame and fortune to be the drug I can never completely kick and that even casually strumming a guitar or busting out my favorite synth soon has me noodling on a new song that I immediately begin thinking could be "the one".

I've heard kicking heroin is tough, if not near-impossible, but it has nothing on the teenage dream of fame and fortune that lives inside most musicians. Just when you think you've kicked it once and for all, gotten your life back together, and rebuilt all those bridges you once burned, a buddy asks you to fill in for his drummer for a few gigs or help them cut some new tunes in the studio...you know, what others might call "harmless fun"...and the next thing you know, you're rocking out to a packed house and dreaming of turning in your two-weeks notice at work, leaving a loving spouse behind to hold down the fort while you hop aboard some fucking pirate ship with a bunch of lunatics.

When is the dream over, you ask?

Never.

For better, but mostly worse, rock & roll is a young man's game; a life sentence that never ends well for those who give their heart to it, but, if I may interject, getting there is never, ever boring.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Friendly Reminder From Someone Who Cares: Stop Giving Your Music Away For Free!

Does anybody else remember those halcyon days when, as a musical artist or band, you could make enough cash from mp3.com downloads to MAKE A LIVING MAKING MUSIC?

I know that I'll never forget those days because they helped keep my boat afloat at a time when labels transitioned almost overnight from signing "challenging alternative artists who wrote and performed their own material" to doe-eyed bobbleheads like Britney Spears and the Spice Girls.

As a result, not only did the label interest I had been courting for the past couple years suddenly evaporate, but so did much of the money I'd been making from CD sales.

Thankfully, interest in my music on mp3.com led me to get an overdraft notice from my bank one day and notification that a direct deposit in the amount of $4,000 had just hit my account.

As you can imagine, this immediately changed the way I viewed digital downloads and the effectiveness of such a site as mp3.com.  


Granted, the pioneering music website's business model left a lot to be desired, but they did manage to do what few sites have done before or since: PUT THE ARTISTS FIRST! By doing so, of course, the site earned the furious scorn of an industry that would rather sue the future into oblivion than embrace an idea that they, themselves, did not formulate.

You see, even though the internet had become part of the global consciousness by the late '90s, the music industry was still in complete denial of the oncoming train heading straight in its direction. Convinced that they could merely litigate it and all other music sites out of existence, the major labels would then be completely broadsided by Napster a few years later, proving that the people now had the power when it came to the sharing of music over the web.

Fast forward to the year 2020 and we now see that the very same major labels who saw Napster as a threat to their very existence at the turn of the century have now gotten into bed with the likes of Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who now represents Spotify's interests.

What changed the minds of the likes of Jimmy Iovine and Irving Azoff, among others, you ask?

Plain and simple, money.

In order to gain access to the vaults of every major label, Spotify gifted shares of their company to the likes of Sony, Interscope, and others to get them to "play ball" and, as a result, labels now derive a majority of their annual income from this arrangement.

Mind you, it is nowhere near the billions upon billions they used to rake in from CD sales, but
once the labels found out that the artists would be making little to nothing from this Y2K union of snakes and cockroaches, the major labels couldn't sign fast enough.

Meanwhile, those music fans who UNDERSTAND THAT ARTISTS NEED MONEY TO MAKE MUSIC have led a resurgence of both vinyl and cassette sales in recent years.

While that is great news to those of us who still value the experience of immersing ourselves in both the visual as well as the aural experience of a physical release, the fat cats at UniSonyScope records are laughing their way to the stogie store over the fact that 60% of their yearly revenue stems from subscriptions to the streaming services, while only 4% comes from sales of physical product.

See, once you no longer have to pay artists, you'd be amazed at how far $11 billion will get you, as opposed to the $15 billion the industry was raking in as recently as 1998 when 4 billion went towards royalties and other contractual payouts to artists.

When I am reminded of the two-year period between 1998 and 2000, when I was regularly making between $2,000-$4,000 via the site, it is STUNNING to see fellow artists paying a site like CD Baby or Distro Kid up to $69 per project to make their music available for streaming, knowing full-well that they won't come anywhere near recouping that small amount, much less recording costs.

While most musicians these days are too young to have ever known the exhilaration that comes from making a living from the sale of their music, that does NOT give the labels and streaming services the right to continue profiting from the hard work and boundless creativity of the most important content creators on this planet: Music artists.

If you agree, all I ask is that you consider defending your art the same way you'd protect a large stack of $20 bills that represents your living expenses. Just because the entities now attempting to steal those twenties also have the ability to SIGN YOUR BAND does NOT make them any less worthy of scorn and derision for this current system of digital theft that they have concocted.

What can you, the artist, do to defend yourself against those who want you to sing and dance for fractions of a penny per stream?

1. Avoid giving away your music at all costs, and, yes, placing your music on Spotify IS the digital equivalent of sending a free CD of your music to anyone who wants one. 

2. Work only with sites that allow you to control pricing for your music, such as Bandcamp.com, which also allows you to control the level of free streaming before a listener must make a purchase. Note: If the thought of holding your own music ransom (until someone who has listened to the same song three times finally reaches for their wallet) seems unthinkable in this day and age, well, you need to get over that in a hurry or the next income you'll see is when you sell all your music gear to make rent. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

For Early Gen X'ers, Van Halen Was Our Nirvana!


In a way, I still think of the year 1978 as being in black-and-white, like TV's in the days of "I Love Lucy" or "The Dick Van Dyke Show". About halfway through Van Halen's self-titled debut album, though, a funny thing happened: hard rock's black-and-white world suddenly burst into full technicolor and, in doing so, became irresistible to the masses.

Make no mistake, hard rock/heavy metal was already a burgeoning genre full of great bands, but no single band carried with it the potential of reaching a mainstream audience the way Van Halen did so effortlessly.


Because they made it look so easy, other metal bands initially accused the band's members of being  fake-metal carpetbaggers, much like The Police had been in UK punk circles at roughly the same time, but, sadly for such vocal critics of Eddie & Co., such purity tests proved unpopular as die-hard metal fans forgot all about Sabbath, Purple and their ilk when the mighty VH mothership landed.

Prior to VH getting signed, Kiss frontman Gene Simmons had made a serious play to get Eddie to join Kiss, who would have replaced a hard-drinking Ace Frehley, whose days in the band were numbered.

Of course, to build trust with Eddie, Gene had produced Van Halen's demo on his own dime, but when no record deal materialized, Simmons would then console Eddie by offering him the gig in Kiss. Who could resist such a set-up, you ask? Eddie Van Halen, that's who.


Whether Eddie eventually saw through Gene's actions or not, his decision not to don Kiss make-up for a fast buck, the maturity and confidence that Eddie showed by turning down Mr. Simmons would ultimately seal both men's fates.

For Gene, luring Eddie into the band would have been a much-needed shot of adrenaline for Kiss, whose ginormous fan base was growing older and starting to look for less cartoony musical thrills. Eddie, meanwhile, had to deal with the many "What if's" of his decision to turn down the coveted guitar slot in one of America's biggest bands.

As a result, according to producer Ted Templeman in a recent Billboard magazine interview, Eddie Van Halen was "pretty damn serious" during the recording of Van Halen.  You would be too if you'd turned down the biggest gig in rock to make a record with your own then-unknown band. EVH knew that if he didn't put everything he had into that record, turning own the Kiss gig might haunt him forever.


Thankfully, within weeks of Van Halen hitting record store shelves, such frivolities would haunt him no more.

In fact, the arrival of Van Halen's debut album upon an admittedly stagnant musical landscape in February of 1978 was a seismic event that changed the face of rock music almost overnight. Releasing the album in the quiet months of winter was also a masterstroke because most major acts were scheduling their next releases for spring and summer. This gave kids four months to become acquainted with the band before summer hit, at which point Van Halen-mania absolutely exploded.


For those not alive at the time, the closest comparison that can be made to Van Halen's meteoric rise would be that of Nirvana, whose rise from near-obscurity to mega-fame came after the release of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

While both bands redefined rock music in the wake of their massive success, only Nirvana's fame seemed to force every other band on the planet, regardless of genre, to conform to their musical aesthetics, whereas when Van Halen rose to prominence in '78, the industry did not pressure non-metal acts to conform to the "hot new sound" VH was peddling.

That's not to say that Van Halen's sound wasn't influential.

In fact, within a few years of their success, the first wave of hair metal bands inspired by Van Halen began releasing their own debut albums and creating a movement of their own.

For better or worse, it would be Nirvana's landscape-changing success that would force many of those very same bands to trade in their skin-tight leathers and lipstick for some flannel in order to survive the '90s.  
 
By then, Van Halen had become a worldwide juggernaut that had survived the dismissal of Roth and the addition of Sammy "I Can't Drive 55" Hagar and, while they almost didn't survive the addition of former Extreme singer Gary Cherone a decade later, reuniting with Roth in recent years brought the closure that both fans and band members needed, albeit minus bassist Michael Anthony.

Sadly, we would learn after Eddie Van Halen's death last week that the band had almost reunited with Anthony for a world tour last year, but plans were nixed when Eddie's cancer diagnosis stopped everything and everyone in their tracks.


Monday, October 12, 2020

How Jack White Completely Changed The Narrative of Last Week's SNL Musical Chairs!


First off, it must be said that Morgan Freeman, or whatever that schmuck's name was who somehow landed a coveted slot as musical guest on Saturday Night Live and then lost it after breaking COVID-19 safety protocol in order to shove his tongue down the throats of some off-duty mall teeth whiteners down at Coyote Ugly.

What struck me was how much fucking press Morton Downey Jr. or whatever his name was got from not only being careless, but also fucking up an opportunity thousands of other artists would kill to have fall into their laps. 

Making matters worse was the fact that the likes of "The Today Show" and other major media outlets actually chose to interview Morgan Fairchild or whatever his name was, giving this rhinestone doofus even more free publicity.

Upon first hearing the story, I admit that my first thought was that none of us would ever hear from this Maura Tierney fellow ever again, but once I saw that someone had pulled Lorne Michaels out of storage, it dawned on me what was starting to happen...



Those smarmy motherfuckers at NBC who only care about ratings noticed that this story now had legs and, as a result, their thinking quickly shifted from kicking an unknown country singer to the curb to talk of re-scheduling Morley Safer's musical appearance because, sigh, doing so would practically ensure an entire week of breathless media hype and sky high ratings.

But then a funny thing happened: Michaels, or whoever he'd entrusted at SNL to "fix this" made a grave mistake by recruiting a well-rested Jack White to step in as that week's musical guest. 

Now, I'll be the first to offer that White is a popular and energetic performer of some acclaim (!), but the former White Stripes singer/guitarist is a "legacy act" these days and, despite his continuing influence as an arbiter of cool, we know what we're getting.

The Jack White that hit that SNL stage this past Saturday night, however, was a wild animal freed from its cage after months of captivity.

Within seconds of White tearing at the custom graveyard blue guitar Eddie Van Halen had gifted him, the entire audience was in the palm of his hands and, with each passing second, you could see the narrative of the entire week changing on a dime and by the end of the first performance, Jack White had made every single person in this country forget all about ol' what's-his-name and, for that, we should all be thankful.

After all, how long has it been since we didn't have to turn the channel whenever the latest gaggle of lip-syncers and backing dancers made us question why we continue tuning in to what is often a weekly celebration of craven mediocrity at all.

Will SNL still bring back the bro-country douche who made this all possible? 

Probably, but something tells me that when they do, Morgan Stanley will no longer be the subject of the same breathless, week-long media spectacle without the media also reminding us how Jack White stepped in and showed the folks at home how a professional operates.