Maybe They Meant Rock’ll Die <i> This</i> Month

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Does anybody--other than critics and songwriters--really listen to words?

Joe and John J. Kohut, a pair of East Coast pop fans and writers, apparently feel the answer is yes.

In fact, they think rock fans are so interested in words about music that they’ve put together a book that brings together their favorite rock quotes.

“Rock Talk” (Faber and Faber: $13.95, paperback) tells you what musicians, critics and others on the scene have to say about everything from songwriting to guitar smashing.


Here are Pop Eye’s Top 10 from “Rock Talk”:

10--”In rock ‘n’ roll, you’re built up to be torn down. Like architecture in America, you build it up and let it stand for 10 years, then call it shabby and rip it down and put up something else.”--Joni Mitchell

9--”Rock can be seen as one last attempt to break out of this dead and soulless universe and reassert the universe of magic.”

--William S. Burroughs

8--”In the end, I realized that rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t just about finding fame and wealth. Instead, for me, it was about finding your place in the world, figuring out where you belong.”

--Bruce Springsteen

7--”Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster’s terms, Nirvana means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that’s pretty close to my definition of punk rock.”

--Kurt Cobain

6--”Long, flat expanses of professionalism bother me. I’d rather have a band that could explode at any time. And I think that’s what people like, too: soul and expression and real fire and emotion more than perfection.”--Neil Young

5--”I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.”--Jimi Hendrix

4--”One of the greatest contradictions of rock ‘n’ roll is that it’s very personal, private music made on a huge public address system.”



3--”It’s like a Bob Dylan song that you’ve loved for years and years, and then you read an interview and he says, ‘Oh, it’s about this dog that was run over in the street.’ You’re like, ‘What! That song colored and altered my opinion of life for three years. What do you mean it’s about a dead dog in the street!’ ”

--R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe

2--”I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob.”

--Bo Diddley

1--”It will be gone by June.”

--Variety in 1955, on rock ‘n’ roll

--Robert Levine