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February 11, 2010

Music Appreciation with Professor Plumcake

Filed under: Music — Miss Plumcake @ 1:33 am

So I feel I would be remiss if I failed to mention that big sporting event that happened the other day, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t watch.

I just don’t care that much about American pro football.

At least with soccer and rugby I can root for teams based on guys I’ve dated. For example, in the SI am OUTRAGED that Scotland lost to France, FRANCE for Pete’s sake, because the Scottish firefighter with whom I had a very enjoyable Horizontal Association in the summer of 2008 could totally have taken Andre who, while quite a bit taller and probably stronger, is a great big Parisian puss.

What I DO care about is The Who, who apparently played the halftime show.

I know they played the halftime show because several of my Facebook friends posted variations of the following status update:

“Ooh, CSI Medley!”

Friends, I think it’s time Miss Plumcake teach you a valuable lesson about life.

In this crazy, mixed-up cuckoo world there are two sorts of people:

There are people who hear the strains of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and think “CSI: Stripper Toddler Death” (I don’t know what the show’s really called, but they’re all about dead strippers and toddlers, except for the one that’s about raped strippers and toddlers. Because, you know, that’s a normal and healthy thing to want to watch.)

These people are not your friends.

Do not let them water your plants, babysit your children, pick out your bridesmaid dresses or order your drink when you’ve run to the bathroom. They will undoubtedly mess it up and you’ll end up with blue novelty cocktails and children who will NEVER get into Vanderbilt, even if you are a legacy. These are People Who Don’t Know and are to be treated with a combination of suspicion, loathing and pity.

On the other hand, there are people –decent, right-thinking people– who hear those famous strains and automatically think:


These people are your friends. You should buy these people cocktails, expensive shoes and, upon request, ponies.

Friends, what you just witnessed is one of the most iconic moments in rock n’ roll.

Pete Townshend setting the gold standard in power slides during the Shepperton Gig for the 1979 documentary “The Kids Are Alright” (which technically makes me the SECOND coolest thing to be released in 1979).

Townshend is better known for his windmills–to which I’ve referred before– and destroying his guitar on stage. I cannot say I approve of guitar smashing, but let’s face it. He’s Pete Townshend. He can do pretty much whatever he wants.

For further reference of the power of the windmill (and the import of a well-cut pair of trousers) please refer to the following:

Baba O’Riley (which some people will call Teenage Wasteland, but will be wrong)

and for advanced study, google the full Shepperton recording of Won’t Get Fooled Again where –in addition to the previously mentioned powerslide and windmills– you will find examples of Advanced Mic Tossing courtesy of Professor Roger Daltrey, Drumming for the Clinically Insane by our dearly departed Keith Moon, and Just Standing There Being the Bass Player by John Entwistle.


  1. And then there was the obviously young and very ignorant person who wrote a review for a Who album on a few years ago, who said it was terrible, sounded like something from the 70s, and these “Who” people, whoever they may be, should stick to what they do best, i.e. writing theme songs for television programmes.

    The responses where something to behold.

    Comment by Bronwyn — February 11, 2010 @ 7:29 am

  2. Not to mention Prof. Daltrey’s amazing Woodstock shirt/vest with the two-foot-long fringe. That he managed to toss the mic without tangling it in the fringe is proof of his divinity.

    Comment by Chicklet — February 11, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  3. Afreakinmen, sister. Amen.

    Comment by Jezebella — February 11, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  4. So with you Chicklet! That was some kind of awesome, as was Townsend just sort of going ‘meh’ and tossing his guitar into the audience at the end of the set.

    But Plummy, I must take issue with one thing you said. John ‘the Ox’ Entwhistle Just Standing Around Being the Bass Player????? No, no! John ‘the Ox’ Enwhistle Just Standing Around Being the Bass Player With the Zenest (not a word, but should be in this case) Attitude and Most Frenetic Fingers on the Planet.

    Also, I have always freaking loved his skeleton suit. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, people, sit down with The Kids Are Alright. You’ll see him not only wear that fabulous suit, but also go skeet shooting with gold records which is bizarre and utterly brilliant, even to this gunshy (as in never want one within five hundred million zillion miles of me) lady.

    BTW, Beatles and Who trivia note: Ringo Starr’s son Zak Starkey was taught to play drums not by his dad, but by his ‘Uncle’ Keith Moon.

    Comment by Twistie — February 11, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  5. Plummy, I think I have a girl crush on you! You rock! So does The Who!

    Comment by mdegraffen — February 11, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  6. Oh Twistie, with Entwistle the Zen is implied!

    Comment by Plumcake — February 11, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  7. Oh, and for some reason I can’t go in and edit, but obviously it’s Roger Daltrey, not Daltry and Won’t Get Fooled Again is in place of Baba O’Riley.

    Comment by Plumcake — February 11, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  8. John’s fingers are going too fast for him to do anything else.

    Comment by Lisa — February 11, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  9. I could barely hear the playing over the dull roar of the Super Bowl party I was attending (I was there for the gumbo), but I want to give HUGE props to their stylist. I wanted everything they were wearing: Daltry’s striped blazer? Killer! The deconstructed Union Jack shirt? Fab! And Mr. Townsend’s jacket with the gorgeous & artfully frayed edges? To die for!

    Comment by Style Spy — February 11, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  10. I saw The Who twice. 1979: The next day I quit my job and went back to college. 1982: Decided to get a divorce.
    Pretty good shows. ;)

    Comment by Not my real name — February 11, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  11. Thank you Professoe Plumcake, for clarifying this for all those young ‘uns who do not know of which they speak.

    Comment by Christine — February 11, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

  12. And they sounded really, really good on Sunday. I was extremely impressed by the vocals, both Roger and Pete. For a mostly deaf guy (from what I understand), Mr. Townsend’s pitch was amazing.

    Comment by Chiken — February 11, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  13. Stuff like that is always fun. I remember The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black” being used as the theme for the show “China Beach”. Someone wrote into the Television Answer Man (regular column) asking about this “great song”, wanting to know what it was called, who did it, and where could they get a copy. The reply was something along the line of: “The song is called ‘Paint it Black’ as performed by the Rolling Stones. You may have heard of them.”

    His second funniest answer was when someone wrote in complaining that they had taped the movie “Tender is the Night”, but had missed the end and wanted to know when it would be shown again. His answer was something like: “The movie was adapted from a book by the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Try checking it out of your local library if you want to know how it ends.”

    Yup. I love some well-placed snark.

    Comment by Geogrrl — February 11, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  14. The old kids are still all right. It was pretty clear at the beginning of the SB show that Townshend couldn’t hear himself, but they got it together pretty quickly. (Details on how deaf Pete is seem to vary depending on who he’s talking to and when, since he long ago began treating interviews more or less as performance art.)

    What always strikes me is how good Daltrey looks at 65. He seems to have aged to about 48 or so and just stopped right there. English rock stars don’t ordinarily wear that well, appearance-wise. I used to have a job where quite a few musicians ambled through our offices, and there is just no natural aging process like what happens to the typical English rock star.

    Comment by Mifty — February 11, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  15. When Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” came out, several of my colleagues (adults, well educated, folk of the world) commented on how “original” the song was. If you heard a giant thump in June of 2008, that was my head hitting the desk as I sent out mental apologies to Warren Zevon and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Comment by Katie — February 11, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  16. I actually had a FB friend who posted the following: “Who are the Who, I never heard of them, don’t know any of their songs and can’t believe they are English”. I weep for the younger generation!

    I saw the Who a number of times. Most memorably their performance of Tommy at the Lincoln Center Opera House. The show outside was almost as good as the show inside. Many stoned musicians clinging to each other to stay upright, foremost among them Johnny Winter and a pre-homicidal Phil Specter. Those were the days my friend.

    Comment by gemdiva — February 11, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  17. Katie! I got SO angry at that stupid Kid Rock song because every time I’d hear the opening strains I’d think Woo! Werewolves of London! (which is my theme music when I’m psyching myself up) and NO. FAIL.

    Comment by Plumcake — February 11, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

  18. Mifty, it also doesn’t hurt that Roger was incredibly handsome to begin with. Golly.

    Comment by Plumcake — February 11, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

  19. “Who’s Next” was the only album I could listen to as I typed my papers my senior year of college. I’d heard it so many times that I wouldn’t start typing “it’s only teenage wasteland” instead of “as Dedalus walks down the streets of Dublin, he contemplates the emptiness of his life blah blah blah.”

    I love The Who and I will always be grateful to my college boyfriend/fiance for introducing them to me. Other things, not so much. But The Who, yes.

    Comment by The gold digger — February 11, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

  20. Well, so was Robert Plant, and now he looks like a mile of bad road. Not in an unattractive way, however.

    I think the dudes from Def Leppard were the ones who startled me most of the people I saw at my former job, since they’re all within a year or two of my own age. I still had this MTV video mental picture of them, and … well. They had changed, shall we say.

    In fairness to the Brits, the most battle-scarred musician I have ever stood in a conference room with was the American Steven Tyler. A very small, very thin, and very worn-looking person (also quite charming and funny).

    Name-dropping aside, I was no kind of insider — I was a contributing editor for a now-defunct music trade, so musicians passed through while they were making the promo rounds. Lots of young ones who went nowhere, a few who hit, and a proportion of veterans. I loved that job (sigh).

    Comment by Mifty — February 11, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

  21. What always strikes me is how good Daltrey looks at 65. He seems to have aged to about 48 or so and just stopped right there.

    He’s got great bone structure, and he’s built like a fireplug. Also, I’m not sure he ever got quite as wasted as some others of his generation (*cough*Keef*cough*).

    Comment by zuzu — February 11, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  22. “The Kids Are Alright” should be required viewing for any person who claims to love Rock and Roll. The music is amazing, it has a collection of video from the very first days of the band, and it caught them on film while they still were strong, and Keith Moon was with them.

    I love their music, but I have to say that I hated the SB set. I don’t begrudge the NFL for wheeling out older rockers, but at least Bruce played songs from throughout his career. The Who played songs that were 30-40 years old. I’m glad they are still with us, I believe Pete Townsend is a genius, but I didn’t like seeing them on the SB.

    Comment by Grace — February 12, 2010 @ 12:49 am

  23. Thanks. that is all.

    Comment by Terri — February 15, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  24. Oh, so that’s where power slides, windmills, and guitar smashing came from. Thanks for the info. =D

    Comment by All Women Stalker — February 17, 2010 @ 2:45 am

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