michael gallucci

A HISTORY OF CHEESE ROCK

In Uncategorized on 09/14/2010 at 1:15 pm

Nickelback: who cut the cheese?

8000 – 3000 BC – Man makes cheese for the first time. No one’s really sure of the exact date (people were too busy raping, pillaging, and experimenting with fire back then to mark it on a calendar), but it falls somewhere between the domestication of sheep and the invention of the Ritz cracker.

Cheesiness: 4

Early 1950s – Man makes rock & roll for the first time. A number of musical elements – including jazz, blues, pop, R&B, and country – shack up for a night and spawn something that sounds a little like all of them, only louder and more troublesome to people over the age of 30.

Cheesiness: 2

Mid 1950s – Man makes cheese rock for the first time. Fats Domino is black. Chuck Berry is black. Little Richard is black and he looks kinda gay. Uptight suburban white people don’t want their kids listening to music made by black and maybe gay men. So they find some white guys to do it.

Cheesiness: 3

1955 – 1956 – Pat Boone hits No. 1 with a pasty-white cover of Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” (the rollicking original version stalled at No. 10 earlier in 1955). A few months later he reaches the Top 10 with an equally bland cover of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.” It sounds neither black nor gay.

Cheesiness: 2

1966 – The Beatles’ massive success opens the gates all over the world for groups consisting of four guys with goofy haircuts. The U.K. has Herman’s Hermits; the U.S. has the Monkees. And rock fans have to put up with music that sounds like it was written by 70-year-old vaudeville veterans.

Cheesiness: 2

1973 — The golden age of cheese rock starts here, when Grand Funk Railroad – a Michigan trio kicking around since 1969 – releases “We’re an American Band.” Big, obnoxious, and depth-free, it paves the way for every thickheaded rock anthem that follows. Bonus slice: cowbell!

Cheesiness: 3

1978 – The era of faceless cheese rock bands launches when Foreigner, Journey, and Styx score hit albums. Their songs (a mix of huge, dumb rockers and huge, dumb ballads) become staples of backyard barbecues and wedding receptions. It ages well, preserving much of its stink over the years.

Cheesiness: 2

1984 – Night Ranger releases “Sister Christian,” possibly the cheesiest chunk of cheese rock ever produced. Within five minutes, the San Francisco band motors from fragile piano ballad to balls-out rocker and back again. Its legend grows when it’s used during Boogie Nights’ wide-eyed coke scene.

Cheesiness: 4

Late 1980s – A bunch of “W” bands – Warrant, White Lion, Whitesnake, Winger – infiltrate the airwaves and dominate the charts with their interchangeable guitar rock. The look: girly blond hair, spandex, shirtless. The sound: girly power ballads, revolting, spineless.

Cheesiness: 3

1990 – Nelson’s “Love and Affection” hits No. 1. The longhaired twins – who look like Swedish terrorists from a Bruce Willis movie — are the sons of Ricky Nelson, a former teen idol who dodged cheese-rock status in the ’50s by actually singing good songs. Unlike his sons.

Cheesiness: 2

1991 – Live release their first album of overwrought, angst-ridden alt-rock, which gets even more overwrought and angst-ridden as this type of music catches on during the middle part of the decade. Frontman Ed Kowalczyk later shaves his head, making him look like an evil troll with anxiety issues.

Cheesiness: 2

Mid 1990s – An influx of disposable modern-rock bands – spurred by the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but who sound nothing like them – penetrate the mainstream. Sugar Ray (douchebags with a DJ) and Third Eye Blind (douchebags with college degrees) lead the short-lived charge.

Cheesiness: 2

1999 – Creed’s second album, Human Clay, hits No. 1, inflating the ego of already-insufferable frontman Scott Stapp to God-size proportions. The quasi-religious songs, coupled with Stapp’s secondhand Eddie Vedder impression, ushers in a brand new era of stinky cheese rock. Christ.

Cheesiness: 4

October 2, 2010 Nickelback, Three Days Grace, and Buckcherry play Quicken Loans Arena. The region hasn’t seen this much cheese since the last Heini’s Ohio Cheese Festival in 2008. Expect plenty of big, obnoxious, and depth-free songs about being rock stars. It’s just like Grand Funk, but without the cowbell.

Cheesiness: 4

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