'Rock and Roll Mom' and the crowd

Rock and Roll All Afternoon

Music West '97 Guitar Marathon
Robson Square
Vancouver, B.C.
Sunday, May 11, 1997

Review by Darren Gawle
Photography by Rodney Gitzel

The first time they tried this, back in 1994, there at least seemed to be some kind of point behind it, i.e., it was a bit of a novelty and they picked a song that only had three chords to it. And, hey, it was even kind of fun...

Bruce Kulick There was, however, no real reason to assume that the first guitar marathon was any kind of benchmark in Vancouver's musical history. Sure, 1322 guitarists (well, there were two or three bassists, too) jammed with Randy Bachman on "Taking Care of Business" for 68 minutes and 40 seconds. Sure, we got into the Guinness Book of World Records. But does that mean that the world now looks up to our city because of it? Are we any cooler? Would we stop being cool if we didn't try to break our own record? Apparently someone at Music West thinks so, or else we wouldn't be here (all 295 of us, or down about 1000 from last time).

So the tune this year is "I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night," which immediately poses three problems:

Black Diamond To help us along, they've also hired KISS tribute band Black Diamond, and KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick will be making a guest appearance as well, providing he can get out of bed. At least this is a makeup-free event, because if there's one thing worse than standing in the sun looking stupid, it's standing in the sun dressed stupidly and looking stupid.

There's no need to go into the gory details of all 78 minutes and 57 seconds (they can't last another 0:03?) of the marathon -- I won't stay that long. Black Diamond do try to instill some enthusiasm in the crowd, but end up acting obnoxious. Meanwhile, a good half-hour goes by before Bruce Kulick wanders over from his hotel and plugs in. The local musicians invited onstage to jam make plausible attempts at looking interested, but it's just too damn silly. That's it, I'm out of here.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on June 20, 1997

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