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Welcome to Rock Club: Vol. 1

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This. Is. Rock Club. Does that feel like a good, vague and exciting introduction to a new column you know nothing about?



Welcome to Rock Club Vol. 1 – Through the Decades! I will get into this theme in a bit, but first, a bit of background into what Rock Club is.

Rock Club has it’s roots in an idea created in Chicago, and truly shaped into excellence in Denver. Originally, Rock Club was, and is, not a digital experience. It’s meant to be enjoyed among friends, with drinks, a proper venue and music played loud. (For example, Denver Rock Club is enjoyed among a varying group of 5 – 12 regulars, lots of Colorado beer and a stereo cranking out music in a garage.) However, Rock Club’s soul is spry enough to branch out into the digital realm. So here we go.

The basic rules of Rock Club are as follows.

  1. A theme is defined.
    1. Note: Rock Club is just the title. Music within playlists does not necessarily need to be rock.
  2. A date is set for Rock Club to meet, work on your playlist of five songs until then.
  3. Meet up, play music (explain each pick) and have a good time.

Got it? Great. Here is Rock Club Vol. 1. “Through The Decades.”

The challenge: Choose five songs from five different decades. You can’t repeat a decade and the songs must be played chronologically.

“Bus Stop” – The Hollies, Bus Stop single, 1966

My list begins (and continues) with heavy influence from my dad and childhood. My dad is a babyboomer and his taste in music is classic to his generation, but also reaches far beyond. Being woken up to his music on Saturday and Sunday mornings, while he made my sister and I breakfast, are memories that I’ll hold onto forever. What began with an early love of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Kinks, and more, helped shape my love for music of the 1960’s. While I don’t remember my dad listening to The Hollies, inevitably, I came across the US-breakout song when I was a teenager and discovered Napster and Kazaa (for you kids out there, those were the roots of file-sharing).

I don’t know what it was about “Bus Stop” that caught my attention initially, but years and years later, it’s still a staple in my music library. It’s on my weekend list and now my son will grow up hearing it too.

“The Whistler” – Jethro Tull, Songs From The Wood, 1977

This one can be traced directly to my dad. Jethro Tull was, and is, one of his favorite bands. I remember countless weekends listening to all of their albums. When I got a bit older and my dad actually trusted me to choose a record to play and drop the needle on, Songs From The Wood was a favorite of mine. “The Whistler” makes me think of my dad with a huge smile every time I hear the opening. It also feels like such a classic Jethro Tull song, sampling all the elements that really defined the band. It doesn’t feel particularly like it’s from the 70’s other than the lo-fi vocals, but it also feels timeless.

“Owner of a Lonely Heart” – Yes, 90125, 1983

Again, this one comes straight from my dad. This is pretty classic 80’s song as well. The moment you hear it, you think, yep, this is from the 80’s. But, Yes really created a song that while rooted deeply in the musical elements that would define the 80’s (SO MUCH SYNTH), also feels like something you could hear in today’s indie scene (looking at you, Cut Copy). Screeching electric guitar solos, muted percussion, and that beautiful synthesizer, accompanied with Jon Davison’s soothing vocals, and “Owner of a Lonely Heart” easily makes my list.


“Just Like You Imagined” – Nine Inch Nails, The Fragile, 1999

Ahh, 90’s rock, how I love you. The 90’s were my defining musical decade. I was born in 1983, and by the time Nirvana and the Seattle sound was emerging, I really had developed an interest in finding new music. I was making mixtapes, recording individual songs off the radio. Hearing what my friends liked, watching MTV when it still played music, and starting to occasionally read Rolling Stone when my dad was done with it. Nivana’s Nevermind, was the first CD I ever got. (When I got my first stereo, my dad picked Nevermind out and said “Here’s the first album you should own on CD.” See, more fatherly influence!)  As a 10-year-old, here I was, listening to this new Seattle sound and becoming obsessed with it. It led to more musical discovery, very quickly.

As the 90’s progressed, my friend introduced me to Nine Inch Nails. It took me a bit to get into The Downward Spiral, but thanks to “Closer” I had my in. When Trent Reznor released The Fragile, I was a sophomore in high school. I was turning out to be pretty good at cross country and found that listening to music before a race had a huge impact on me. The Fragile, ended up being a pre-race staple for me. No song more played than “Just Like You Imagined”. I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I’ll say it right now. The Fragile, was and is the best Nine Inch Nails album. “Just Like You Imagined” propelled me as a runner and is the most perfect song to visualize a race, replay in my head for the final kick to the finish. You’d never guess this song was from 1999.

“Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” – We Are Scientists, With Love and Squalor, 2006

I feel like everyone has forgotten that We Are Scientists. In fact, I have forgotten how I even heard of them. This album came out during my senior year of college. I was deeply entrenched in indie music, and seemed to be challenging my close friends who could find the next great band. We Are Scientists have never hit it big, but I was a huge fan of this album. (There subsequent albums were less impressive and I eventually stopped following them.) When I hear any track off this album, it reminds me of my last year of college, hanging out with my friends, dating my future wife, and just being extremely happy.

We Are Scientists, along with, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, The Faint, The Decemberists, The New Pornographers and Interpol, were all staples from 2002 – 2006 and are instant memory triggers to college. I remember Yield Bar opening in Milwaukee in 2007, and it being a popular choice for my friends and I to meet-up because it was as if the bar played the entire soundtrack to the previous four years of our lives.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the introduction to Rock Club. Feel free to post your list in the comments. Stay tuned for Vol. 2 – Movie Soundtracks, coming soon!