Alibi V.18 No.34 • Aug 20-26, 2009 

Music to Your Ears

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wis., Les Paul had just turned 94 in June. He died on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.

Without Les Paul’s innovations in design and technique, the Book of Rock would have scant few pages and not much of an alphabet.

Les Paul’s solid-body electric guitar started as the basement tinkering of a gifted musician. Where it led was rock and roll as we know it—and the foundation of innumerable permutations we haven’t gotten to yet. Even if you just look at the instrument and the ways its architect figured out how to play it—put aside, for a moment, the game-changing recording processes he pioneered like multitracking, overdub or delay—without Les Paul’s innovations in design and technique, the Book of Rock would have scant few pages and not much of an alphabet. The Edison of amplified music is gone. But because of Les Paul, rock and roll will never die.

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A Whole Lot of Skankin’ Going On

The skinny tie-wearing men of The Drop Steady Rockers look sharp, all right. But most attention-grabbing is what’s under their belts: two decades of Duke City ska, roots rock and reggae. The rocksteady group is a new addition to Burque’s roster of bands, but its seven members have taken turns in Giant Steps, Sub Agencia, CrazyFool, New Continentals, Lion Tribe, The Old Main and One Pin Short—if you don’t remember that last one, that’s because it’s from Las Vegas, Nev. A long, hot car ride through the desert won’t stop the current lineup of One Pin Short from joining their buddies in The Drop Steady Rockers on Friday, Aug. 21, at the Launchpad. The concert, billed as the First Annual Drop Steady Mashup, promises syncopated horns, keyboards, violins and turntables on stage, and a whole lot of skanking on the floor. The Drop Steady Rockers and One Pin Short will be joined by Mystic Vision with One Foundation, Le Chat Lunatique, Fantastic Planet and DJ Halcyon. Like 20 bottles of cola wine, this show’s going to be sweet and dandy.