The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Rev Jules'


At the moment, adverts are running on the television for ‘Top Gear Anthems’, the latest BBC album to take advantage of both the popularity of the world’s greatest motoring programme and Jeremy Clarkson’s creaking taste in rock and roll. All the usual Dad Rock compilation favourites are here; Boston, Steppenwolf, Queen, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Hawkwind, ZZ Top, Motorhead and Queen to name just a few along with some more modern bands, Son Rock if you will, such as Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and Feeder. I gotta say I wouldn’t listen to any of this stuff regardless if I was behind the wheel of a car or not. So, in honour of my misspent early teens, when one of my guilty pleasures was to whiz around Dublin at night on my Raleigh 10 Speed racer listening to ‘Heatseeker’ by AC/DC on my Walkman (its illegal and dangerous to listen to music whilst on your bike kids) I have put together this list of top notch, road tested driving music for your speed orientated listening pleasure, but I urge you to keep an eye on the speedometer if you listen to them, because Sound Waves advocates safe, responsible driving.


Track: New Sensations

Artist: Lou Reed

Album: Perfect Night Live In London

Verdict: I took my GPZ out for a ride / The engine felt good between my thighs”. Lou Reed’s song is a paean to the simple pleasures of his Kawasaki motorcycle as he heads out from New York on a summer’s day for Pennsylvania and ends up in a road side bar. This live version of the song was recorded at the 1997 Meltdown Festival in London and it kicks ass, especially when Lou Reed instructs the band to, “Crack that Mother Fucker open”. Oh yeah


Track: Thunderstruck

Artist: AC/DC

Album: Live

Verdict: This song is like listening to bolt lightening making its way from Angus Young’s guitar to a massive speaker stack. The best example I can find of what I like to call “Live Energy Audience Transfer Dynamics”.


Track: Steve McQueen

Artist: Sheryl Crow

Album: C’mon, C’mon

Verdict: Sheryl was once engaged to the Texan thunderbolt that is Lance Armstrong, a man who began his autobiography with the words, “I do everything at a fast cadence” so she knows a thing or two about speed. In this song, she admits that she wants to be, “Like Steve McQueen / All I need’s a fast machine” before making sly comments about rock stars in the Whitehouse and pop stars who look like porn. I wonder who she is talking about?


Track: You Wreck Me

Artist: Tom Petty

Album: Wildflowers

Verdict: I first heard this on a country music radio station as I was driving down a highway in Kentucky. “Tonight we ride, right or wrong” sings Tom Petty as his band lock together to ride that tune down the road. Its one of his best songs and yet it does not appear on any of his Greatest Hits releases.


Track: Dominion / Mother Russia

Artist: The Sisters of Mercy

Album: Floodland

Verdict:  Anyone who thought that Jim Steinman’s work with Meatloaf was the pinnacle of more is more music production has never heard his work with British Goth rockers The Sisters of Mercy. This song is the opener for their hit album ‘Floodland’ and has it all, a massive drum beat, grandiose lyrics, a killer guitar lick, graveyard vocals, choir and a saxophone solo. If you are ever planning on driving through Death Valley make sure you pack this track.


Track: Cold Metal

Artist: Iggy Pop

Album: Instinct

Verdict: I saw Iggy Pop when he supported Madonna at Slane and he was brilliant, calling the disinterested crowd a bunch of mother fuckers and jumping around the stage like a seven year old that has eaten too much candy. This is my favourite track by the Godfather of Punk and features Glen Matlock and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols on bass and guitar. Threw my hide in an automobile / Heard a song called drive the wheel”. Sure, it’s a three chord trick but its one which ends with a prescient green message, “Better save a tree”. Trevor Sargent would be proud.


Track: Paper In Fire

Artist: John Mellancamp

Album: The Lonesome Jubilee

Verdict: ‘Jack & Diane’ was arguably John ‘Cougar’ Mellancamp’s biggest hit but this song is by far his best rocker; a lovely mixture of rolling guitar lick, Southern American instrumentation and drum kit fireworks.


Track: Tennessee Plates

Artist: John Hiatt

Album: Slow Turning

Verdict: This wonderful, country rock track tells the story of a car thief who steals a Cadillac with the aforementioned plates and takes it for a drive across Memphis with the police in hot pursuit before ending up in Tennessee Prison where he spends his days making, eh, Tennessee plates. If you ever find yourself on the run from the Gardai down the M50 this is the one to play.


Track: Keep The Car Running

Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Neon Bible

Verdict: “Men are coming to take me away / I don’t know why but I know I can’t stay”. If that’s not a reason to get in a car and drive into the night as fast and as far as you can, then I don’t know what is. Once again, this is a song with a rolling lick and a fast paced beat and its opening echoes Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’.


Track: Light of Day

Artist: Bruce Springsteen

Album: MTV Plugged

Verdict: No list of motorway music would be complete without the inclusion of a song by that poet of the open road, Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen. This was written as the title song for a Michael J Fox movie and was recorded live for an MTV special where Bruce discarded the acoustic instruments for his trusty Fender. “Been driving five hundred miles / Got five hundred to go / I got Rock & Roll music on the radio”. What else do I need to say? Take it away Bruce...

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Carlsberg don't do surf music but if they did; Here are three versions of that classic surf pop song, "Surfin' Bird".

Firstly, The Ramones in 1978

Secondly, the German band der fall Böse perform it in the back of their VW bus.

Finally, Kermit the Frog gives it a lash.


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"We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! ... And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that's what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time... We are gonna have a party." These immortal words, uttered by Peter Fonda in cult biker movie, "The Wild Angels", found a new lease of life when they appeared in an edited form at the start of the Primal Scream track, 'Loaded'. I was reminded of them recently when I read a report in 'Bicycling Magazine' concerning a leisure cycle along America's best road. The article contained a vignette about a group of the cyclists on the trip who spent their evenings watching 'Wild Angels' on DVD, drinking beer and playing their guitars into the early hours of dawn. The overall impression was of cycling as rock & roll, rebellion, freedom, sticking it to The Man, partying and the open road.

So, with a month to go before the start of the 2007 Tour De France it was interesting to do a short trawl of i-Tunes to see that a number of famous musicians have written songs about bicycles. There is, of course, Queen who sang how, "I don't wanna be a candidate for Vietnam or Watergate / Cause all I wanna do is / Bicycle bicycle bicycle". There is Pink Floyd who revealed that, "I've got a bike. You can ride it if you like / It's got a basket, a bell that rings and / Things to make it look good / I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it." There is the elegiac 'Broken Bicycles' by Tom Waits that parallels a broken love affair with, "Broken bicycles / Old busted chains / With busted handle bars / Out in the rain." And there are also hymns to the simple velo by HAL, John Cale and the fragrant Katie Melua. Most importantly, there is Kraftwerk's 'Tour De France'.

If there is one cyclist that embodies all these diverse qualities then it is Lance Armstrong, a genuinely heroic athlete who fought off cancer to come to win Le Tour seven times, has since raised millions of dollars for cancer support and research, was briefly engaged to Sheryl Crow and, being a Texan, has a healthy streak of the rebel yell runing though his veins. So, to finish, I thought I would show you an advert he did for Nike that has a genuine touch of poetry to it and a soundtrack that tugs at your heart strings in the right way. Vive Le Tour, ride free or die.



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Last Tuesday I watched David O'Doherty continue his quietly savage assault on the shibboleths of Post Boom Ireland as he wrote, recorded and released what he termed 'the ultimate power ballad' about a girl who had overdone the fake tan. He had high hopes that this musical masterpiece would go all the way to number 27 in the Irish singles charts. In order to achieve this, David followed a masterplan not unlike that employed by many a boyband Svengali, down to the soft focus promo video shot on a beach and the trademark white suit.

Last Sunday, I watched 'maverick master of the garden' Diarmuid Gavin convince another well to do Irish family to pony up in excess of €25,000.00 for a garden designed by him that they were going to have to build themselves.

It was hard to know which was the most bizarre sight; O'Doherty burning all two hundred copies of his single in four hours on three borrowed laptops on the floor of his flat or a family of wealthy Dubliners stump up the equivalent of the deposit for a house so that they can get into some big time DIY.

Both programmes offer a vision of Ireland that was strangely similar; the person using their own precious time and capital to acquire something that was both visible and yet transitory. At least, O'Doherty slaved away in service to his own vision whereas the home owners chosen by Gavin's producers have to pay for and execute a garden that was not of their design or inspiration.

I am not sure what these programmes are trying to tell us about Ireland but as slices of pop culture they are certainly fascinating to watch.

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Let me ask you a simple question ? Do you think Elvis was a lesser artist because of the cheeseburgers ? Do you think Moby is a greater artist because of the lack of them. There is no link between Hitler's vegetarian and homicidal tendencies yet hardline vegans frequently attempt to link a vegetarian diet with a superior moral or ethical approach to life as outlined by books such as "Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating" by Eric Marcus and the selective use of quotes from a variety of religious texts on websites such as VeganForLife.Org. In popular music Sir Paul McCartney has helped to popularise vegetarianism and a number of well known musicians such as Morrissey, Peter Gabriel, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Martin Gore, Fiona Apple and Meatloaf (no sniggering at the back) have been spotlighted as celebrities who have eschewed meat, fish, chicken and dairy to various degrees.

Don't get me wrong, good diet is an essential part of good health, but when you have to take vitamin supplements as a substitute for the vitamins you are missing out on because of your chosen diet then I wonder whether people are being told the whole story. In fact, I was particularly concerned when one acquaintance of mine kept on insisting that the value of a vegetarian diet was highlighted in Morgan Spurlock's "SuperSize Me". I had seen the documentary a number of times and it was quite clear that Spurlock's ill health stemmed not from his meat intake during that month but because of the amount of sugar, salt, fats and food additives that he ingested on that diet. Although, after filming ended, his vegetarian girlfriend did put him on a diet to lose the weight and help him back to the good health he had previously enjoyed Spurlock never became vegetarian; his subsequent diet was monitored by a doctor and devised by his girlfriend who works as a professional chef and health counsellor. In fact he is quoted as saying, "There’s still nothing better than pork chops, ham and bacon. I just can’t resist the swine.”

I'll put my cards on the table. I am, like any person born in this world, naturally an omnivore and when I say that I mean that my mouth is full of teeth that are able to handle a wide variety of foodstuffs which my stomach is then able to digest. As far as I know, Lions are unable to eat vegetables and cows don't eat meat but mankind is neither solely a herbivore or a carnivore so, as far as I can see, vegetarianism/veganism is primarily an emotional or intellectual choice. There are, of course situations where people are unable to eat certain foods for health reasons but we are not talking about people who are eating under the direction and supervision of a doctor or dietician, we are talking about people who, in the absence of any medical impetus, have made a conscious, personal choice about what they eat, sometimes as a result of reading the opinions of a person such as a famous musician who is not themselves qualified to give dietary advice but yet have taken it upon themselves to tell others what to eat and why and, in the process has attached certain moral or philosophical values to that unqualified advice.

In our modern, post religious society I am amazed that people, who would protest loudly if someone was to quote religious scripture at them in an attempt to direct their sexual behaviour would then meekly accept quotations from the same religious texts when it came to their diet. If you reject what the Bible says about homosexuality or contraception why will you accept what it says about eating meat ? I am perfectly happy to accept Macca's advice on how to write a good song or even what kind of bass guitar to buy but why should I accept what he says about food when he is not a qualified doctor, dietician or chef. How can I be sure that Morrissey is correct when he sings, "And the flesh you so fancifully fry / Is not succulent, tasty or kind"?. Maybe he just doesn't know anyone who can cook. Why should I look to rock musicians for health tips in the first place when so many of them suffer from severe drug or alcohol problems?

As I said at the beginning, there is no link between Hitler's fondness for carrots and his masterminding of the Shoah and so, until there is a proven connection between diet and morality, I would like to remind those campaigning vegetarians out there that its rude to talk with your mouth full, especially when the topic is ethics. Eat what you like, but don't bore others with spurious reasons for why you eat what you do.

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Last night I switched on to RTE and caught the first episode of a documentary series entitled, "The Modest Adventures of David O'Doherty", in which our titular hero attempted to cycle from Dublin to Galway in one day so that he could perform a comedy gig at the Kings Head Pub to a small audience of NUIG students.

There are a number of things to be said about this programme set up. O'Doherty is unique among Irish comedians in that he makes himself the butt of the audience's laughter with a somewhat Beckettian, idiot savant stage personality and a line in quirky, one chord songs that he bashes out on a small, Casio keyboard. Whereas comics like Tommy Tiernan, Dara O'Briain and Des Bishop have made a name for themselves with their smug, desperately unfunny, too clever by half harrangues, inviting the audience to laugh at some dumb target or other outside of themselves, O'Doherty makes himself the target in much the same way that the American comedian Emo Philips had done previously. O'Doherty was true to form in this programme in that his chosen attire was a set of ladies' gym attire, old sneakers and a cycling helmet that was far too small for his noggin. Not only that but his chosen steed was not a full carbon road bike with cleat pedals but a battered old commuter bike with dodgy wheels and a back carrier onto which he lashed his keyboard, wrapped in a white, plastic, shopping bag. No one in their right mind would have confused this hapless loser with Sean Kelly.

The reason he chose to cycle the route in the first place was to emulate his hero, Tour de France winner, Stephen Roche and he figured that with enough drive and desire he could cover the 219 kilometres within one day. The average distance of a stage of the Tour De France, using the 2006 route as a guide, is 172km and I know amateur cycle enthusiasts who train relentlessly all year so that they can travel over to France to complete just one stage of the Tour, so O'Doherty certainly didn't set his sights low regarding the challenge he set himself, and that is not even factoring in Ireland's notoriously windy, rainy weather which decided to make an appearance in the show with a day long storm that provided unrelenting wind and rain coming from the Atlantic to challenge him even more.

O'Doherty had no team back up for his cycle, unthinkable for anyone attempting such a long route, he forbade the film crew to help him and his only food intake for the day consisted of some soggy sandwiches and a banana. After nine hours on the road and 100km from his goal, O'Doherty's legs gave way; what cyclists call 'the knock' or 'the bonk' and stopped working, requiring him to be transported by his sympathetic crew to the gig in Galway where he appeared far from happy on stage and performed a song detailing what he called his, "mild super powers". The programme narration duly put his failure to complete the route as being down to him being unprepared for the challenge, declared that it was the end of his dreams of getting fit and pointed out that he had wasted two hours on the side of the road attempting to fix a puncture; so I am unsure exactly how long he was cycling for but I put his average speed at somewhere between 13km and 17km an hour.

I am a life long leisure cyclist and I can assure you that doing 119km in one day on a bike is, far from being a failure, a bona fide athletic achievement. Most one day charity cycles in Ireland, include the Peter McVerry challenge, average around 100 - 130km and staged cycles average 100km per day with rest days built in. The people who participate in them usually have to undergo extensive training to ensure that they are fit enough to both take part and complete the route in a certain time and, when they do, they are fully backed up with medics, special sports diets and mechanics.

I watched O'Doherty on his trek with both admiration and, it must be said, much mirth. His deadpan expression as each indignity of the road was meted out was priceless but I was surprised that he chose, unlike his frequently self satisfied comedic peers, to portray his achievement as an umitigated failure. Subsequently, it occured to me that his position was artistic. Here is a guy choosing to show triumph as failure, to go against the grain of the 'what a great little nation we are' and instead to suggest that the Irish can fail and fail big. Furthermore, his choice of cycling is interesting in that it harks back to an Ireland mired in poverty and failure. Tim Hilton, in his book on cycling entitled "One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers" opined that one of the reasons why Ireland produced such great cyclists as Roche and Kelly was precisely because of the country's reduced circumstances at the time of their development as athletes. O'Doherty's comedy is in answer to the back slapping of the Riverdance generation and it may well be an augur of things to come, given the OECD's stark warnings for our economy and their view that there is no such thing as a 'soft landing'.

One more thing, if O'Doherty wants to show that he has mild super powers then I would encourage him to get back on his bike and sign up for one of the many worthy charity cycles that are held in Ireland such as the Joe Loughman Randonnée, the Tony Griffin Foundation Cycle or the Welcome Home Wexford Cycle. He could certainly complete the course on his present form and with his media profile he could easily raise the much needed funds required by so many charitable organisations in this country. Now, thats the work of a real superhero, however mild.

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The following is just in from CARVE magazine and I am sure that there are enough budding journos on Cluas to ensure that one of you takes this prize.

"The average human being lives for 2,000,000,000 seconds. We’ve teamed up with Swatch to make sure that you live life to the full this summer and take every opportunity to seize each and every second.

A brand new Swatch Seize the Second van will be touring the length and breadth of the country throughout the summer, visiting a range of music festivals along the south coast. The van will offer festival goers a selection of great summer giveaways as well as the opportunity to take part in a series of impromptu Seize the Second games and activities in an amazing party atmosphere.

We would like to offer one lucky reader the chance to be crowned official Seize the Second reporter of 2007. The winner will be given the chance to experience each of the summer festivals the Seize the Second tour bus will be visiting and report back, with all reviews being posted in the Carve Online website.
Prize will include transport and accommodation for 2 people, plus tickets to festivals.

The Swatch Seize the Second van will be visiting the following UK festivals:
• Beach Break Live , Polzeath Beach – 11th – 14th June
Oceanfest, Devon – 15th – 17th June
• Ripcurl Boardmasters, Newquay – 10th – 11th August

To win this once in a lifetime experience, all you have to do is write 200 words about the best time of your life by 7th June. You've only got a week so hurry up!"

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If you, like me, thought that owning a set of minature Wilco dolls was a little left field then I would be interested in hearing your views on owning a limited edition doll of Beach Boys supremo Brian Wilson as he looked and dressed in 1966.Yes, he is available in two versions: the limited edition with box personally signed by Brian Wilson @ $150.00, and limited edition, unsigned @ $75.00. I notice that Tower Records sell a wide range of minature dolls of rock musicians, who buys this stuff ?

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You might not think that the property section of an Irish newspaper is a fertile area for rock and roll stories but you would be mistaken. In the last few months, a number of features have appeared in the residential property sections of a variety of national newspapers dealing in the sale of this rock star's mansion or that movie maker's stately pile. The reason given for the sale is usually that such and such a celebrity finds themselves spending less and less time in Ireland and, anyway, they have properties all over the world that they need to live in from time to time too. What the articles don't suggest is that this sudden departure after years of comfortable living in the Auld Sod may be, at least, partly due to the recent capping of the Artists's Exemption at € 250,000.00 per annum by the Department of Finance, after which said celebrity will have to pay tax on the remainder of their income.

Now, I am not interested here in getting bogged down in the pros and cons of this exemption; briefly I am for it and also I was against it being capped because the vast majority of artists who avail of it earn less than € 50,000.00 per annum and they do that with great difficulty, but one very interesting knock on effect the cap has had is to escalate a decline within a certain section of the Irish property market, namely in the sale of top notch residential homes.

As soon as the cap was introduced, the tax consultants of these wealthy musicians had to very sensibly point out that the sine qua non of living in Ireland tax free had evaporated and perhaps it might be better to look elsewhere for a place to reside, at which point said musician might think, fair enough, and start looking to liquidate their assets, the result being a sudden rush onto the market of fabulous residences. Now, in the past, when one of these piles was sold, its ownership usually changed hands between celebrities with the usually older seller needing to acquire a big bag of cash and the usually younger buyer needing to dispose of a big bag of cash. With the cap in place, this ready market in buyers all keen to find a tax haven for their newly minted loot, has disappeared and it's fair to say that the remaining buyers in the market may not have such a pressing need for a home with state of the art recording studios and cinema screening rooms, particularly when the property in question comes with a price tag of upwards of € 8,000,000.00.

The result is that the Irish residential property market, already in decline, is given a further negative jolt as these top range properties remain unsold or are withdrawn by their owners, the knock on effect being that confidence in the sector is further eroded and confidence, as any self respecting rock star will tell you, is what it's all about.

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When I posted my views on Rock The Vote last week, a campaign to get the young people of Ireland to the polling station which was fronted by such political luminaries as RTE star Bosco, I received a number of welcome comments in reply, the most negative of which was by JoeC which claimed that , "Rock the Vote, like it or loathe, has been an amazing success...Rock the Vote is not about appearing cool to political aware culturally savvy questions and answers watching folk - it's about appealing to another group entirely. And if you look at their basic numbers they have done so."

Well, I have some bad news for you Joe. According to none other than Rock The Vote Executive Director Patrick Cosgrove in this morning's Herald A.M, "Many students are doing finals and wont be able to get home to vote if they live elsewhere". As an excuse for not voting in what promises to be a crucial general election, that's an excuse on a par with, "The dog ate my ballot card". Herald A.M goes on to say that the turnout on the 24th May could be the lowest in the History of the State and informs us that in the last election only 25% of 18 - 24 year olds in Ireland voted, compared to 80% in Sweden.

All I can say is: Cluas - 1, Bosco - 0


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Nuggets from our archive

2000 - 'Rock Criticism: Getting it Right', written by Mark Godfrey. A thought provoking reflection on the art of rock criticism.