Song of the Day – “Peel the Paint” by Gentle Giant

From a concept album… A CONCEPT album from a progressive rock band!  Who Knew!  From 1972’s “Three Friends”, which has kind of a tedious and lame concept, comes one of Gentle Giant’s best songs.

And I know that if anyone is reading this typical post on this shitty blog, you will no doubt be saying to yourself “Who the fuck is Gentle Giant?”

I said that to myself a few years ago when I found the awesome Prog Archives site.  I was just getting into Van Der Graaf Generator, when I decided to investigate some of the top 70s prog bands.  And Gentle Giant looms high in those ranks.  They made complex, dynamic and interesting music ON PURPOSE.  At least until 1977 they did.  Again… the 80s and “pre-80s” were bad years.

All of the members of this band were multi-instrumentalists.  I’m not sure about their first two drummers, but later on the one and only John Weathers was seen to play more than just the drum kit.  He sang too, but I’m wandering in my prose again.

Look at these guys live in action.  HOLY FUCKING SHIT.  Bands just don’t DO that kind of thing any more.  Your first impression of this song (and a lot of their music) will be a big ball of WTF.  That’s okay.  Dip the ball of WTF in gravy and heat at 350° for 2 hours.  It will soon be the tastiest ball of WTF you know.

You might also be enjoying the skinny-man boogie of the keyboardist and primary songwriter Kerry Minnear and the oddly compelling behind-the-drum-kit dance of John Weathers.  Look at that guy.  Thick coke-bottle glasses, bald as fuck head, skullet and a frilly part-satin shirt.  Would you believe this man worked as a male nurse for a time?

You might.  Now would you believe that he took such a job simply because he figured it provided ample opportunity to get pussy?  And would you believe it fucking WORKED?  He also kicks ass on the drums.  One of my favorite drummers.  I’ll have to list them out one day.  He’d be near the top.

70s clothing aside (not literally please) these guys look like they’re enjoying the performance immensely.  They bloody well should, because it’s a great performance and they were one of the most adventurous bands ever.  Most rock bands being played on the radio these days are as safe as you can get.  They get escorted everywhere by elementary school crossing guards, as a matter of fact.

I think it sucks that rock bands don’t try to sound different any more.  There’s not much you can do with vocals/guitar/bass/drums(/keyboards) that hasn’t already been done to death, but at least TRY.

Enough of my ranting.  If you did in fact check out the first link you would have noticed the quiet and tuneful (very classical-music-inspired) opening, the rock section that starts poking holes in the song and then the amazing guitar and drum duet that rips the thing to shreds.  Gary Green wasn’t the most technically proficient guitar picker, but he had a GREAT sound.  And he knew just how to play a rock part over whatever folk/medieval/classical/jazz part the other guys were playing underneath.

For some reason, I feel that it is appropriate to end this blog entry with this.