National Anthem

An Ode to “Roundball Rock”

With the 2014-2015 NBA season just now getting underway, (and with our beloved Trail Blazers tipping off for their first game tonight) we at Rust Is Just Right would like to take the opportunity to sing the praises of one of the greatest musical compositions ever written.  Do not dismiss the tune that a generation knows as the “NBA on NBC Theme” as just a mere theme song for a sports broadcast; no, the tune is an embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit.  That, and it is really fun.

Just listen to that jubilant melody, and try not to smile and bob your head.  Holy hell, not only are you primed to watch the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Sacramento Kings in an inconsequential mid-February matchup, but you are ready to tear away your sweatsuit and head onto the court to take on players twice your size.  The song’s power cannot be overestimated.

The craziest part is that “Roundball Rock” remains a popular touchstone, even though its heyday was in the pre-Internet 90’s.  A few years ago, I played with a band providing the musical accompaniment for a play, and we threw in an arrangement of “Roundball Rock” for a scene transition, and it got some of the loudest and most raucous applause of the night.  People go nuts for the song, even if they had not heard it in years.

Every single damn part of this song is awesome.  Even the more mellow second section, which exists only to provide a backdrop for Marv Albert’s summation of the storylines surrounding that Sunday’s particular matchup, is a brilliant callback to the main melody.  This song should play in the background of everyone’s lives.

And to think, the man responsible for this brilliance is John Tesh.  Watch this live performance of this song, where he explains the original inspiration.  The song was basically fully-formed from its inception!

I swear to God, that answering machine tape is the most priceless artifact in existence.

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Over the Weekend (May 27 Edition)

We took the day off yesterday in recognition of Memorial Day.  This is how we at RIJR celebrated, with Gary Clark Jr.’s superb rendition of the National Anthem from this year’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Atlantic had a nice piece where they asked musicians their thoughts on what the most influential song in history was.  Personally, I felt that Walter Martin, formerly of The Walkmen, gave the best answer.

Speaking of The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser’s solo debut Black Hours is available for streaming on the NPR website; they also have a stream of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Only Run up as well.  Next week sees some other highly anticipated new albums, including Sunbathing Animal from Parquet Courts and Glass Boys from Fucked Up.  Pitchfork has the streams for both.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s always worth seeing Eels live.  You never know what kind of set you get, from a somber strings-enriched performance to a retro-variety hour show, or having Steve Perry from Journey randomly showing up and performing live for the first time in nearly two decades.

Chris Cornell gave a quick interview to Rolling Stone talking about looking back to the days of Superunknown.  The best part of the interview was the discussion about his interactions with Artis the Spoonman, giving new insight into their relationship.

Finally, I think that I need to inform our audience that a banjo cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” exists.  And it’s not bad.