18th May 2012 USA

GREAT British Music Rocks and Rolls Through The Years

The following is a guest post by Bob McNally, drummer for MADlantic, a local rock and roll cover band with US and UK band members.

It is Music Week and Great Britain celebrates its long and outstanding tradition of rock and roll. Music is one of the great cultural ties between the US and the UK. The connection is not only global, but also very personal. I play drums in a local rock and roll cover band called MADlantic. For its entire five year existence, we’ve had at least one (and most times two) members from the British Embassy. In fact our band owes its existence to the Special Relationship and our name pays homage to the transatlantic ties, as it came from a mash-up of Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Mid-Atlantic, and our tag line is “spanning six decades of transatlantic rock n roll.”

Since becoming musically conscious in the mid-1970s my preferred tastes for music to play centre around classic rock – The Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Who remain my favourites.  Of course as a drummer I revere John Bonham and find as I got older I appreciated his grooves from less well-known Led Zeppelin tunes that I ignored as a kid.

As I got older—and discovered girls—I came to enjoy dancing to more rhythmic funk or R&B, and increasingly enjoy playing tunes from those genres as well. And two years in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer exposed me to terrific West African artists such as Youssou N’Dour and Baba Maal. Improving my hand percussion is on my bucket list. But my listening tastes are more eclectic, and I enjoy the challenge and variety of playing types of tunes from various genres, from Elvis and the Beatles through the Police and Spin Doctors to Cold Play and Foo Fighters. But my goal in retirement is to play in a Led Zeppelin tribute band.

Of course all of us share and draw on a shared, deep and rich reservoir of tunes from British, American, and Irish bands. But we learned there certainly are gaps in music repertoires! For example, we Americans had never heard of “Deacon Blue” or appreciated the necessity, bordering on ritualistic fetish, for playing Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” during holiday time. Our British colleagues had never heard of ZZ Top or Black Crowes, but took to them with alacrity.

The ties between British and American music have been a part of my whole life, and have grown up with my generation. And great British music is going to continue playing well into the next generation American kids now have a chance to listen to artists like eight-time Grammy winner Adele; British-Irish boy band One Direction seems to be the next British Invasion craze for American teenagers.

You have a chance this week to see MADlantic in action Friday night, as we are playing at fundraiser for CAUSE – Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services, an organization that helps returning injured members of the armed forces. We’ll be at the Barking Dog in Bethesda starting at 8:30. It is a pay what you want event, and all door proceeds go to CAUSE. Hope to see you Friday for a great mixture of music, from Elvis and the Beatles to Duffy and Cee Lo. Bring your dancing shoes!

About Jessica Shipley

Jessica works on UK and US domestic climate change policy, analyzing developments in the US and advancing UK expertise in climate security and low carbon growth. Previously, she worked as…

Jessica works on UK and US domestic climate change policy, analyzing developments in the US and advancing UK expertise in climate security and low carbon growth. Previously, she worked as a Fellow for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a leading environmental think tank in Washington, DC, advising policymakers on low carbon policy and technological solutions to climate change. She holds a masters in public policy from UC Berkeley.

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