Author Archives: Michael H. Little

Graded on a Curve:
The Replacements,
The Shit Hits the Fans

Please allow me to begin this review with an anecdote, most likely apocryphal. Seems Minneapolis’ The Replacements went into a recording studio, and when they left the cleaning person, or whoever, found vomit–on the ceiling.

True or not, the story serves as a testimony to The Replacements’ reputation as a band of drunken don’t give a fucks–they were the band that got a big break in the form of an invitation to appear on Saturday Night Live and literally sabotaged themselves by getting drunk beforehand and sending the word “fuck” out to an entire nation–live and on the air. SNL producer Lorne Michaels’ exact words afterwards were “Your band will never perform on television again!”

The Replacements were infamous for the falling down drunk live shows; put ‘em on stage, and there was a good chance they’d muck it up. Whether they did so on purpose is a good question, but they seemed to take a perverse pleasure in falling apart in public. Songs would disintegrate in real time, vocalist Paul Westerberg and guitarist Bob Stinson might get into a tussle, and on many a night the band said to hell with playing their originals in favor of playing a bunch of cover songs they’d never played before. Depending on your point of view, such shows were either a rip-off or one of the most liberating experiences of your life.

This is where 1985’s The Shit Hits the Fans comes in. The cassette-only live album captures the band at their hit-or-miss best at a show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and depending on who you talk to the cassette was a) seized from an illegal taper by the band’s sound guy or b) stolen by the band’s sound guy from the club’s manager, who’d asked for permission to record the show (Westerberg’s reply: “Why? We suck.”).

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Graded on a Curve:
The Pretty Things,
Greatest Hits

Mention England’s The Pretty Things, and most people will immediately direct your attention to 1968’s S.F. Sorrow, one of Western Civilization’s first rock operas (it preceded The Who’s Tommy by six months). Me, I prefer the band’s earlier, hard-driving R&B songs like “Rosalyn,” “Midnight to Six Man,” and “L.S.D.”

The pre-S.F. Sorrow Pretty Things specialized in a frenetic raunch-n-roll that split the difference between the Rolling Stones and Them. Powered by Phil May’s feral vocals and May’s stab to the heart guitar, the band’s sound was gritty as a mouthful of gravel, and you can hear them (as well as the band’s later psychedelic material) on 2017’s double LP Greatest Hits. Its 25 songs track the band from its R&B and blues-based early years through 1970’s Parachute, and make clear that Pretty Things were key players in the history of English rock ’n’ roll.

The 1964-66 Pretty Things were every bit the bad boys the Stones and The Who were, and quickly won a reputation for sowing chaos wherever they went. May claimed to have the longest hair in the UK; drummer Viv Prince’s mad behavior anticipated those of Keith Moon (and finally got hims sacked from the band). The band’s penchant for mayhem culminated in a 1965 stint in New Zealand, where they provoked as much outrage (and bad publicity) as The Who would later.

The early Pretty Things are best remembered for the 1964 song “Rosalyn,” which David Bowie covered on his 1973 LP Pinups. Bowie’s version reproduces the song’s primitive Bo Diddley beat, but Bowie’s vocals are positively enervated next to May’s Dionysian alley cat yowl. Ditto Pretty Thing’s 1964 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Their version is furious, harmonica-fueled thing, and May goes at it in a full-throttle snarl. Bowie reproduces the song’s anarchic energy, but his singing’s prim, thin, mannered. It’s a case of savage vs. fop, and the savage wins hands down.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Who,
Live at Leeds

Many have called the Who’s 1970 Live at Leeds the best live album of all time. Me, I’ve always scoffed. It made no difference that I’d never actually sat down and listened to it. A good rock critic doesn’t have to actually listen to an LP before passing judgment on it. He simply knows, based on gut instinct and certain arcane and occult clues, whether an album is a dud or not. In the case of Live at Leeds, there are three clues to the album being rated far greater than deserved.

The first is the LP’s inclusion of “Summertime Blues,” a song that has always given me hives and put me off my dinner of Hormel’s Chili on hot dogs, which is the impoverished rock critic’s version of pan-fried foie gras with spiced citrus purée. The second is that Live at Leeds suffers—if only in one notable case—from that early seventies affliction, song bloat. You know what I’m talking about: live albums where the bands stretch their songs to extraordinary lengths, in some cases obscene two-sided lengths, forcing the stoned listener to stand up, stagger to the stereo in a Tuinal haze, and turn the damned record over to hear the second side. Finally, there was the issue of song selection: six tunes, three of them covers, with none of the covers being particular favorites of mine. And I’ve never been a big fan of one of the originals, “Magic Bus,” either.

Which has always left me to wonder, “What’s in it for me?” And I’m not alone; in particular, Live at Leeds failed to impress those twin pillars of rock criticism, the generally unintelligible Greil Marcus, who called the music dated and uneventful and the ever-crotchety Robert Christgau, who singled out “Magic Bus” for special abuse, calling it “uncool-at-any-length.”

Besides, I’ve always been more than satisfied with the three Who LPs I consider indispensible, namely Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia. As for the rest of the Who’s catalogue—including Tommy—I had no use for it. But having finally listened to the Live at Leeds, I’m flabbergasted; it may not be, as critic Nik Cohn called it, “the definitive hard-rock holocaust,” but it does rock balls, probably because the Who was the best live band in the world at the time.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Hold Steady,
Boys and Girls in America

The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn sure knows his way around the teenage wasteland. Since 2004 the Minneapolis native has been chronicling the chemically induced ups and day-after come downs of America’s “we’re desperate, get used to it,” youth, and in so doing has established himself as the poet laureate of the can’t feel my face crowd.

In songs that owe a debt to the Born to Run-era Bruce Springsteen, the unlikely teen champion Finn–whose voice falls somewhere on the continuum between the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli and a high school football coach–returns again and again to his favorite subject, the powders and pills and the damage down. You can find his kids at parties, the chillout tent at rock festivals, sleeping it off at afternoon matinees–anywhere and everywhere really, from your local florist to the laundromat.

On their third LP, 2006’s critically acclaimed Boys and Girls in America, the Hold Steady meld euphoric song craft–these songs soar–to Finn’s eye for the telling detail; his ability to channel the voices of kids walking the thin line between the bong hit and the detox unit (“We started recreational/It ended up all medical”) are surpassed, in this humble critic’s opinion, only by the Mountain Goat’s John Darnielle, whose We Shall All Be Saved had covered similar ground three years before. Both artists are empaths rather than Just Say No advocates; they sympathize with the lost boys (and girls) who populate their musical imaginations.

On song after song he drives home his message–the boys and girls of America “have such a sad time together,” and see wasted as the best way out. But he’s not talking exclusively to the kids–on the keyboard- and guitar-driven (the riff is straight up classic rock) “Stuck Between Stations” he name drops Jack Kerouac’s On the Road alter ego Sal Paradise before going on to tell the story of the poet John Berryman, struggled with alcoholism before leaping to his death off a bridge into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis (most of Finn’s songs are set in the Twin Cities).

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Graded on a Curve: Smashing Pumpkins,

In his 1823 essay On the Pleasure of Hating, British author and philosopher William Hazlitt wrote, “Love turns, with little indulgence, to indifference or disgust: hatred alone is immortal.” He also wrote, “We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.” With those words he summed up my whole character. Hating’s what I do best.

Hell, I even hate things I know next to nothing about. Take the Smashing Pumpkins. I’ve despised them since the first time I heard “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” and when people ask why I tell them, “I dunno. They just smell wrong”

But here’s another quote, this one by the 19th Century British philosopher Herbert Spencer: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” I don’t mind being called a hater. But an ignorant hater? Nobody wants to wear that hat.

So I tied myself to a chair and listened to the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1991 debut, Gish. And you know what? My ignorant hating ass was right. The Smashing Pumpkins suck. Wait, let me amend that. Billy Corgan’s voice sucks. He’s a whiner. He whines the way I used to whine when my parents would drag me through the gift shop at Fantasyland without buying me anything.

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Graded on a Curve:
Jim Stafford,
Jim Stafford

The list of famous country novelty songs is a long one. There have been hundreds–probably thousands–of them. Just off the top of my head: Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue,” Loretta Lynn’s “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly,” Mark Chesnutt’s “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” and my dad’s all-time favorite (he sang it all the time), Mac Davis’ “It’s Hard to Be Humble.” Any half-decent country fan could reel off dozens more.

But when it comes to country novelty tune artists, Jim Stafford could just be the king. I grew up listening to “Spiders & Snakes,” “Wildwood Weed,” and “I Got Stoned and I Missed It,” and while I’d never kissed a girl or smoked a joint in my life, I loved the obvious spirit of fun behind all of ‘em.

Stafford has released only three albums, and since 1990 he’s dedicated his energy to operating and performing at the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson, Missouri (no vanity there, and by the way: should you find yourself in Branson, be sure to stop by Dolly Partons’ Stampede!). Don’t know if he’s plain lazy or doesn’t need the money, but Stafford hasn’t released an LP since 1993. (He has done some acting; he played the role of Buford in 1984’s immortal Bloodsucker from Outer Space.)

Jim Stafford spawned four Top 40 hits, and if there’s one word to describe the LP it’s versatility. You get some swamp rock, a faux-lounge number, a couple of good ole’ country numbers, a blues parody, a rockabilly pastiche, and a couple of songs that pack what can only be described as a hard rock punch. And that “variety” also extends to Stafford’s knack for creating personae; he’s a shapeshifter who is, by turn, a sly hayseed, an aging rockabilly fan, a very confused courter, a Louisiana oracle, and so on.

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Graded on a Curve:
Ringo Starr,
Blast from Your Past

Beatles fans, stop your incessant bickering about who’s the better artist, Paul McCartney or John Lennon! Because let’s face it, Ringo Starr beats the MBEs off both of ‘em! He’s a hit machine, a genius and a true Starr! And to those who would say otherwise I say, well, to HECK with you!

I don’t base my opinion on the fact that Ringo is the humblest and most lovable Beatle. No, all one has to do is compare his best of, 1975’s Blast from Your Past, with those of the other members of the Fab Four. It’s got a higher winner to loser ratio (90%, and that’s only if I call “Beaucoups of Blues” a loser, which it ain’t!) than John Lennon’s Shaved Fish (64%) Wings’ Wings Greatest (50%), and George Harrison’s The Best of George Harrison, which I refuse to even consider seeing as how its first side is composed solely of Beatles’ era songs.

And not only does Ringo have a better batting average–he’s also a lot more fun. Sure Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” (to pick just one song) is a harrowing depiction of heroin withdrawal blah blah blah, but do I ever listen to it? Of course not! It’s a stone bummer! And yes, Paul the Frivolous has written some lovably lightweight songs over the years, but he’s also the spitwit responsible for “Silly Love Songs,” “Let ‘em In,” and “Ebony and Ivory,” which makes him a horrible person in my book! And don’t even get me started on that nebbish George Harrison. No, Ringo’s the King, and I say that not as a fan but as a completely objective party who Ringo just paid me to say that!

Look, I would call Ringo the Greatest but I don’t have too since he comes right out and says he is in “I’m the Greatest,” just one of the delicious trifles that make Blasts from Your Past as indispensable an album as, well, pick an album, any album! And just in case you think Ringo’s only good for producing trifles, I give you “Photograph” (as touching a song as you’ll ever run across) and “It Don’t Come Easy,” which has George Harrison’s fingerprints all over it but who gives a shit!

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Graded on a Curve:
Sea Level,
Cats on the Coast

Boy do these guys have chops! Boy is their inimitable brand of jazz fusion as relentlessly “upbeat” as everybody else’s inimitable brand of jazz fusion! Boy do I never want to hear them again!

To the extent that I’m deaf to the charms of jazz fusion I probably shouldn’t be reviewing Sea Level or their 1977 sophomore release Cats on the Coast. What I hear when I listen to jazz fusion is a music that combines the worst of jazz and the worst of rock to create a kind of dumbed down muzak that offends both the jazz lover and the rock lover in me.

Left high and dry when the Allman Brothers Band broke up (albeit temporarily) in 1976, Chuck Leavell (piano, keyboards, vocals), Lamar Williams (bass), and Jai Johnny Johanson (drums and percussion) went down the worm hole of fusion music. Randall Bramblett joined in time for Cats on the Coast, lending both vocals and alto and soprano saxophones to the mix. Unfortunately he also seems to killed the funky impulses Sea Level demonstrated on their 1977 eponymous debut.

Not surprisingly, I find most of Cats on the Coast (and all of its B Side) unlistenable. What’s more surprising is that it includes a couple of tracks that, while hardly worth a second listen, don’t immediately induce projectile vomiting. And the playing throughout is solid (drummer George Weaver and conga player Jaimo acquit themselves quite nicely), if not my cup of tea. Perky–and perky is what Sea Level is selling–wears thin very quickly, and too much of the stuff can be downright nauseating.

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Graded on a Curve: Laibach,
The Sound of Music

You know what I’d kill to hear? Everybody’s favorite faux-totalitarian Balkan state musical group doing a cover of Grand Funk–entitled, of course, “We’re a Slovenian Band.” It’s not like they don’t do covers–they’ve lent their unique martial industrial touch to The Beatles’ Let It Be, The Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Jesus Christ Superstar”–and the list goes on and on.

On their latest (2018) outing, Laibach–who’ve been inciting controversy since the early 1980s with their foreboding music and parodic flirtation with the iconography of nationalism, totalitarianism, and militarism–turn their attention to the soundtrack of Rogers and Hammerstein’s 1959 Broadway musical The Sound of Music, and the results are hilarious, unexpectedly accessible and even (dare I say it?) occasionally sweet.

Laibach’s decision to reinterpret the story of the Von Trappe family, who fled Austria to avoid persecution at the hand of the Nazis, is a provocative one–it takes one back to the Second World War, Slovenia’s annexation by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, and ultimately to the expulsion of ethnic Germans from that country at war’s end. Unlike Austria, which docilely accepted Hitler’s takeover, Slovenia–or at least many of its citizens–fought back. If the Von Trappe family were the best Austria could do in the way of resistance, what did that say about Austria?

You would think that The Sound of Music would be enough of a “concept” for even Laibach, but they can’t resist tacking on a couple of Korean folk songs, which makes a twisted kind of sense given Laibach’s decision to debut their new material in North Korea in 2015. Hence the delightful album cover, on which Laibach singer Milan Fras sits surrounded by adorable North Korean tykes in frightening military uniforms. Oh, and Laibach closes the LP with the rousing welcoming speech delivered upon their arrival in North Korea by one Mr. Ryu. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up (unless they did!).

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Graded on a Curve: Electric Light Orchestra, The Ultimate Collection

How great are ELO? Randy Newman wrote a song (“The Story of a Rock and Roll Band”) making fun of ‘em! Talk about your honors. That’s better than a Grammy! Six Grammys! A dozen Grammys even!

And how dumb was poor Roy Wood, who split Electric Light Orchestra before they sold like a gazillion records to form Wizzard, who sold like six! No wonder hairy Roy looks like a crazy recluse who’s spent the past 40 years in the wilderness, subsisting on a diet of spotted squirrel and sterno–he has!

The words “symphonic rock” frighten the bejesus outta me. But (at least on the best of their songs) ELO pulled it off, partly on the strength of their top-secret recipe (write Beatlesque melodies, then just add strings) but also because–and this is critical–unlike the pompous schmucks in Emerson, Lake & Palmer, ELO approached their classical-rock fusion in a spirit of fun. I don’t much care for many of their songs for the simple reason that I have a low tolerance for cellos and the like, but there’s something self-consciously preposterous in their shtick that makes me love them anyway. Call it ironic distance if you like, but the distance counts for a whole lot in my book.

There are plenty of ELO best-of compilations out there, but I’ve yet to run across one that makes me completely happy. They either dispense with the filler but fail to include some of my favorite songs, or include my favorite songs but toss in a bunch of songs I really don’t want to hear. With its 38 cuts 2001’s The Ultimate Collection falls into the second category; I have no use for “Shine a Little Love,” “The Diary of Horace Wimp, “Ticket to the Moon,” or “Last Train to London,” but the comp includes such personal must-haves as “Do Ya,” “Ma-Ma-Belle,” and “10538 Overture.”

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Graded on a Curve:
Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead

Today we remember Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter who passed away Tuesday, September 24, 2019 with a look back from our archives.Ed.

The Grateful Dead: God invented ‘em at the same time he invented the sloth. They were renowned for their shambolic jams, lethargic grooves, and endless noodling—when I saw them I saw ‘em with Bob Dylan in 1987, they played a version of “Joey” that lasted longer than The War of Jenkin’s Ear. One critic wrote of the show I attended, “Pity anyone who actually sat through [it]… with a clear head.” Well, my head was about as clear as stained glass, and it didn’t much matter. There simply aren’t enough narcotics in the world to make “Drums and Space” anything but torture. I’d have asked for my money back if I hadn’t seen, with my own eyes, an acid casualty try to snort a Birkenstock.

Truth is, I saw the Grateful Dead decades too late. Because it’s a cold hard fact that the Dead were a spent force in the studio by the mid-70s, and definitely dead in the water by the time they released those twin abominations, 1977’s Terrapin Station and 1978’s Shakedown Street. Even their famed live shows went downhill—Donna Godchaux, anyone?—as they cycled through keyboardists the way Spın̈al Tap went through drummers and Jerry Garcia gradually dedicated more and more time to his various pharmaceutical side projects.

Still, theirs is a fascinating history. The Grateful Dead began their career playing Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests, and through their connection with Merry Prankster Neil Cassady bridged the Beat Movement of the Fifties and the Hippie Culture of the Sixties. The early Dead played a psychedelic soup of the blues and acid-trip-length explorations of inner space, but by the late sixties had tightened things up to become a stellar, if notoriously erratic and self-indulgent, live act. I love large chunks of 1969’s live Grateful Dead (which the band wanted to call Skull Fuck) and Europe ’72, but my favorite Grateful Dead albums were both released in 1970—namely, those two studio masterpieces, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty.

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Graded on a Curve:
King Crimson,
In the Court of the Crimson King

The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau called this 1969 LP “ersatz shit” the year it came out, but I humbly disagree. It’s shit for sure, but there’s nothing ersatz about it; insofar as In the Court of the Crimson King was one of the pioneering records of the progressive rock genre, it was completely original. King Crimson did more than anticipate the Triumvirate of Terror that was Emerson, Lake & Palmer–their lead singer was one of its founding fathers.

Which isn’t to say Crimson King is as terrible as ELP; their grandiosity quotient is lower, and they largely spare us the pretentious and nauseatingly otiose adaptations of Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Copland. That said, Crimson adapted the riff that powers “The Court of the Crimson King” from Samuel Barber’s “Essay for Orchestra,” which shows you what I know.

King Crim fans like to point out that its members are all consummate pros who can play better than most mere mortals with one hand tied behind their backs. And it’s true; Robert Fripp, for example, is a true guitar original, and would go on to do great things with his own bands, in collaborations with other artists, and as a studio musician. Hell, I’d love him had he never done anything but play that mind-bending solo on Brian Eno’s “Baby on Fire.” Drummer Michael Giles is damned good too.

That said, my eternal retort to people who put a high stamp on virtuosity is that rock and roll is a populist art form; Chuck Berry wrote “Roll Over Beethoven” for a reason. I’m not necessarily opposed to instrumental wizards who can read a classical score, mind you. But I am offended by virtuosity for its own sake, and that’s one of the besetting sins of progressive rock in general and In the Court of the Crimson King in particular.

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Graded on a Curve:
Sonny and Cher,
The Beat Goes On

They were, during their time, America’s most beloved singing couple. The short one wasn’t much to look at, but, boy, was that Art Garfunkel hot!

No, I’m talking about Salvatore Bono and Cheerily Sarkisian, who started their career together as Caesar and Cleo but won hearts and minds as Sonny and Cher. The duo did it all; put out a lot of great songs, parlayed their musical success into a successful CBS television variety show, even popularized animal skins and knee-high caveman boots.

Many Sonny and Cher best-of compilations muddy the waters by sneaking Cher’s solo hits into the mix, but me, I’m a purist–you might as well slap a couple of Paul McCartney songs onto a John Lennon greatest hits record. Which is why I chose to review 1975’s The Beat Goes On. Except, wait–the great “Laugh at Me” was Sonny’s only solo hit, so what’s it doing here? And if they saw fit to include it, why not also toss in his legendary LSD freak-out ode “Pammie’s on a Bummer”?

The duo will forever be best remembered for “The Beat Goes On” and “I Got You Babe.” The former captured the ebullient spirit of young America every bit as well as Simon & Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)”; the latter’s shared avowal of love so moved the Dictator’s Andy Shernoff and Handsome Dick Manitoba they sang it together on 1975’s Go Girl Crazy. Anybody who hates either song is certifiably insane.

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Graded on a Curve: Ecstatic Vison,
Raw Rock Fury

Ecstatic Vision’s 2017’s Raw Rock Fury is a double-headed beast. On one hand it includes a couple of the most devastating blasts of sonic power to come down the pike since the Stooges’ Fun House. On the other, it contains some of the best Krautrock autobahn boogie this side of Hawkwind and Neu!.

Those are some bold claims, I know. But them’s what my ears tell me, and my ears haven’t lied since they proclaimed Black Oak Arkansas the next Beatles (and they weren’t really lying, cuz they shoulda been!). But they’re right on this one; on Raw Rock Fury–which more than lives up to its title–Ecstatic Vision prove they’re the City of Brotherly Love’s best exploding act since Phil “Chicken Man” Testa.

My pal and world-renowned musical expert Bill Barnett recently saw Ecstatic Vision play live, and he reported their set included covers of both “TV Eye” and Hawkwind’s “Master of the Universe,” so the band is hardly attempting to deny its influences. But they’re anything but a tribute act.

Both “You Got It or You Don’t” and “Keep It Loose” take the anarchic energy of 1970’s Fun House to whole new levels. Which is something the Stooges themselves couldn’t do; in comparison 1971’s Raw Power–and it would be wrong to place all of the blame on producer David Bowie–sounds positively emaciated. And they infuse their takes on Krautrock/psych-rock with some good old Stooges punch.

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Graded on a Curve:
Jack Kerouac,
Poetry for the Beat Generation

Jack Kerouac changed my life. I read On the Road and just like that I went from being this adolescent CYO nerd with no goals or dreams to a cut-rate beatnik wannabe who drank Tokay wine and sought out angel-headed hipsters and gone beat characters in the pool halls and greasy diners of nearby Gettysburg and Taneytown, drove like I had a death wish in imitation of Dean Moriarty, and hopped a moving 2 a.m. freight train and rode in an open coal car the whole way to Harrisburg.

It was all a ridiculous fantasy, I know; there were no angel-headed hipsters or beat characters to be found in the pool halls and diners of Gettysburg and Taneytown, and one late night train ride hardly made me the second coming of Sal Paradise. But Kerouac did more for me than just turn me into a poseur; he fired my imagination and turned me on to literature, and fueled my desire to escape my one-horse town and have big wild adventures in the American night. He even made me think that, who knew, one day maybe I’d even write a meaningful sentence or two.

Kerouac has similarly inspired innumerable other kids, which is why all of those detractors who mocked him when On the Road came out in 1957 were 100 percent wrong. It’s hard to fathom, today, the savaging he received from a clueless press. If Time was content to ridicule him as “a latrine laureate of Hobohemia,” other, more hysterical voices, sniffing the downfall of Western civilization in his descriptions of junkies, small time criminals, and (gak!) “negroes,” proclaimed him the spearhead of a nihilistic and violent death cult.

Why, you’d have thought he was the Sex Pistols. Norman Podhertz seemed to think murder was the theme of Kerouac’s writing. And an obviously deranged writer for The San Francisco Examiner went so far as to submit that Kerouac’s “degenerate” followers were prone to feeding strangers hamburgers laced with ground glass. And, with a few notable exceptions, the literary establishment was no more charitable; Truman Capote, for one, famously dismissed Kerouac’s work with the words, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

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