The 33 1/3 Rules of Rock and Roll

The following is taken from the EXCELLENT book, "The Worst Rock-and-Roll Records of All Time: A Fan's Guide to the Stuff You Love to Hate" by Jimmy Guterman & Owen O'Donnell. This book is a MUST-READ for anybody that is serious about rock 'n roll. Go to Barnes & Noble to find this book!

Anyhoo...this is just a little excerpt from the book. I thought it was appropriate, especially after last month's irate letter from an artiste, to truly reiterate how rock and roll should NEVER be taken too seriously!

Finally, we hope the author's don't mind the use of this excerpt - but we really do encourage you to buy the book and study it cover to cover! It is an excellent read.

1. Do not retain a band's name if the most important member(s) has left the group. Does anybody (even Pete Townshend) really like anything the Who have recorded since Keith Moon died in 1978?

2. Do not sing a song about Elvis, especially if you have never been in a recording studio before.

3. Do not record for Arista Records. In the late eighties, Clive Davis's label was a haven for art-rock has-beens eager for one last pillage, like GTR and the Kantner-Balin-Casady Band (both of which broke up after one album) and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe (pending). Arista's flagship "new" artists of the time, particularly Milli Vanilli, were cynical exploitation units.

4. Rock-an-roll songs with an orchestral choir are bound to be horrible. (Sole exception: "the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want.")

5. Rock lyrics are not poetry (especially if Sting or Bono writes them).

6. The quality of a rock-and-roll song is inversely proportional to the number of instruments on it (unless you're Van Morrison).

7. Supergroups never are.

8. Rock stars are not actors.

9. Actors are not rock stars.

10. White rock-and-roll stars who talk about their R&B roots are probably lying. Similarly, anyone born after April 1954 who records at the Sun Studio is a poseur. Furthermore, a return to roots in not necessarily a good thing. Listened to John Lennon's Rock'n' Roll lately?

11. Don't sing a song about your dead parent, especially if that parent was a celebrity. This is the Hank Williams, Jr. rule.

12. Elvis is dead.

13. Do not go to art school.

14. The more controversial the cause embraced, the more likely the star may actually be committed to it. Do you know anyone in favor or hunger or homelessness?

15. Whatever you do, Jerry Lee Lewis has already done it. Probably better, too.

16. A list is not a song. (Most blatant recent violation: Billy Joel's evasive "We Didn't Start the Fire.")

17. Established artists should not allow family members into the band.

18. There is no reason besides greed for an established performer to accept corporate sponsorship.

19. Live records should reflect what a performance actually sounded like when it occurred. We loved the Talking Head's Stop Making Sense until we found out how many studios were used for postproduction.

20. Videos are commercials.

21. Good politics are not what make good lyrics.

22. Formidable technical proficiency is never sufficient. This rule explains why art rock is always bad.

23. Neither is formidable hair. (Exception: Little Richard.)

24. Do not hang out with Jeff Lynne or Dave Stewart. They will produce your record, you will have to take part in periodic psychedelic revivals, and you'll start dressing like them. Do you want to wear a paisley vest and cowboy boots that badly?

25. Cult artists are frequently just a boring and predictable as mainstream ones. This is also called the Robyn Hitchcock rule.

26. Heavy metal should be fast.

27. Punk happened. (Note tense.)

28. If you have recorded more than three albums, someone will some day compile a boxed set dedicated to your oeuvre and Rolling Stone will give it four stars and call it a "grand summary, especially valuable in pristine CD."

29. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an oxymoron. If you want your work to be recognized in a museum, learn to paint.

30. Admit you're balding.

31. Love is not all you need. Psychedelic lyrics never ring true after you've come down.

32. Do not record cover versions of Motown or Stax/Volt hits.

33. Rock and roll is but one small part of the music being bade on this planet. Rockers who think they're changing the world are in fact only reaching a small part of it.

33 1/3.Do not die before Albert Goldman.