To be a Rock and not a Roll

audience band concert crowd
Photo by Thibault Trillet on


To be a Rock and not a Roll

I know you want to be yourself,
I know you want to quit the dole,
I know you want some easy pelf
To split from squares for rounder holes,
You want the sex and drugs and fame,
You want to slay them at the Bowl,
But dude, the nature of this game
Is Rock, not Rock & Roll.

There ain’t no Elvis hereabout
So put away your blue suede shoes,
Don’t tutti-fruit, don’t twist & shout,
Don’t hit the road to G.I. blues,
Don’t rock around the clock tonight
With Johnny B and King Creole –
That stuff’s so old, it’s outasight,
It’s only Rock & Roll.

I know it is a mongrel beast,
That blends the pixie with the troll,
I know it often loves to feast
On blues and swing and folk and soul,
Yet from these breeds a diff’rent stock
That bends the riffs it stole:
So what you’re playing, dude, is Rock,
And Rock ain’t Rock & Roll.

So roll over Peggy Sue,
Smoke gets in my eyes for you,
Good golly, sweet sixteen,
It’s only Maybellene.
Amazing Grace, Chantilly Lace,
But this isn’t who you are –
So dude, put down the double-bass
And plug in your guitar !



Falling Standards

abstract architecture attractive background
Photo by on


Falling Standards

I know a modern architect who really loves his jazz.
The hypocrite ! Still clinging to his Monk and Duke and Chas !
The music of the moment is the only sort allowed –
Hip-hop, pop and drum & bass – played endlessly and loud.
For any newly-written jazz is just a quaint pastiche,
So councillors and plutocrats must keep it on a leash.
Keep it stark and minimal, without such syncopation –
For finely-crafted solos are just needless decoration.
And as for old recordings: don’t restore them, but adapt:
Saxophones now synthesized, and melodies now rapped.
Drum machines inserted, so’s to tell the new from old;
Gut ’em out and fit ’em up – it’s brutal, brash and bold !
We’ll wipe the records clean to make the space for noises new,
For songs are just machines for lis’ning to.



Radio Galileo

Jupiter & Europa
Jupiter & Europa by NASA


Radio Galileo

…and up in five, it’s the news on the hour.
But first, here’s ten thousand watts of power
Pumping our signals to the Jovian system –
Even the Great Red Spot can’t resist ‘em !
They’re listening-in to our Hawkwind and Floyd,
A pirate station from across the void.
So going out to you super Jupers:
A radio clash of aural ammunition,
Rocking you out of your frozen stupors.
Listen-up, Europans, to our FM transmission
Of hazy cosmic jive.

Ev’ry sha-la-la-la is a sonic bomb
At the speed of light – can you hear me, Major Tom ?
But just in case our trace is erratic,
But just in-case we’re nothing but static –
If only our carrier signal is reaching
With a constant hiss and white-noise bleaching;
Then dudes, what can I say, it’s the same old saga.
But pulsing now from the broadcast-tower,
This one’s for you: here’s Radio Ga Ga.
We have the time, we have the power,
To bring your air alive.