WFMU Ichiban, Rock and Soul with Debbie D

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

R. Crumb On Rock 'N' Roll

    He's not generally perceived as a big fan of post-depression era pop music, but Crumb has spoken at various points of his fondness for early rock 'n' roll. And while his general distaste for hippie music has been addressed in many interviews through the years, no one has ever asked what '60s music he did like until now:

From Crumb On Others, Part One, by Alex Wood:


Robert: "Yes! Last great proletarian rock 'n' roll band. 1966 -- My Baby Does the Hanky Panky, great record. That to me was the last year there was a bunch of good, proletarian rock and roll hits on the radio. After that it was taken over by the California psychedelic thing. I just didn’t find that as interesting. That was all very middle-class. Once the Beatles became famous, then the middle class began to embrace rock 'n' roll and abandoned the kind of middle of the road sound of Bobby Rydell and Pat Boone and all that stuff. And when the middle-class embraced it, they cleaned it up, it wasn’t the same. But Tommy James was one of the last bands, and Sam The Sham, he was another one of the last ones: Wooly Bully and stuff like that."
Alex: "Did you like Little Red Riding Hood?"
Robert: "Great, great masterpiece. [laughs] But after that, I started to lose interest in rock n’ roll. The golden age of rock 'n' roll was in the 50s and for me, particularly Rockabilly. I really liked that. A lot of the rockabilly stuff was really wild and kind of scared the bourgeois, scared them."
Alex: "Like Jerry Lee Lewis?"
Robert: "Yeah, great! Great piano player. Little Richard too, excellent piano player but they’re showmen so you don’t get to hear enough piano. But going back to Tommy James, he made a psychedelic song called Crimson and Clover. Remember that? I thought that was pretty good… 'Crimson and clover, over and over…'"


Joe non Papa said...

Mr Crumb has darned good taste!
Can anyone tell me about the Tommy James memoir. Is it worth reading?

Devlin Thompson said...

I would have liked for it to be a bit more comprehensive, but yes, it's pretty good. I'd been waiting for such a thing for thirty years, and I wasn't let down.

Jerry Lee said...

Great videos, I love it when Sam's voice cracks and he starts laughing!

andy said...

A big thumbs up on the Tommy James book. A good read that turns out to be as much about Moe Levy as T.J.

Debbie D said...

I loved the Tommy James book and have given it to friends as gifts. You can hear an interview that Spazz did with TJ here:

Joe non Papa said...

Wow! I'm a regular Spazz listener; I can't believe I missed that one. Great interview; TJ was very open and honest - and entertaining. The book has been ordered! Thanks all, esp. Debbie D for the link!

Anonymous said...

Woolly Bully THE song of 1965 in Netherlands...( after Satisfaction).
Sam is the only one lively singing, the rest is PlayBack. Sam=KIng.
Love, amsterdamman

Anonymous said...

R Crumb he like the Young \Rascals too ? Good Lovin & Eat my heart Out sound kinda workin'classy.