The Joup Friday Album “Get The Knack”

 

The Knack

Be honest with yourself and admit you have hated something without really giving it a shot because it was too popular or you just didn’t like it because it was not your style. Everyone does it and there is never a shortage in this world of things to hate or dislike. People hate super models because they appear too flawless or Dancing with the Stars because it is all their mothers will talk about. How about people that suck their teeth, cilantro, the word moist, Facebook, Bud Ice, candy crush, tuna, Disney films, skinny jeans, Capri cigarettes, hippies, the Cadillac Escalade, coconut water or Starbucks? Do any of these things mentioned move the suck needle for you? One thing I personally cannot stand is vinyl siding on a perfectly good house. What vinyl siding says to people as they drive down your block is that you were too lazy to paint your house twenty years ago so you paid seven grand to a crew of illegal immigrants to snap and glue ugly fake wood on top of your old real wood siding. Now flash forward twenty years later and it looks like shit, it is faded, bulging and warped due to excessive weather damage. You were chumped and you feel like an a-hole. Now you have to remove the siding and face the same dilemma you had twenty years ago. Wash, rinse and repeat then go to A and B to avoid the C, D and E. You are now living the definition of the word insanity.

The Knack was a famously hated Los Angeles power pop, rock band best known for their 1979 hit song “My Sharona” and not much more to most people myself included until the pivotal year of 1999. Why did it take me twenty years to listen to the whole record “Get The Knack”? I just figured “My Sharona” was a one hit wonder and was probably the bands best song. I was also beaten over the head with the song for as long as I can remember throughout the 80’s so I just checked out and wrote them off like a tax deduction for a company pizza party. When I finally sat down to listen to the album “Get The Knack” I was floored that I had not paid this album any attention. In my social circles the thought of me liking the Knack was probably not cool, but then again I was never really cool, but that is what makes me so cool in the first place. Anyway you slice it there was a time when I cared what other people thought and by 1999 all that shit kind of went out the window but I could not freely admit my love for the Knack quite just yet.

The Knack were bigger than anything and everything in 1979 but they were out-casted by their peers, fans and the press as a result of being so big so fast. By the early 90’s they were an after thought and fodder for a one hit wonder compilation album. They were lambasted by the music critics and hoodwinked by their handlers. In 1979 “Get The Knack” sold over one million copies in less than two months and God knows how many have sold totally but I am sure the number is astonishing. Guitarist Berton Averre of the band said in an interview “No band could ever learn from what happened to us” which I think is not entirely true because their story is pretty typical the only difference is they were extremely talented and had more longevity to them than other bands in the same predicament.

The songwriting and arrangements of Doug Fieger (vocals, guitar) and Berton Averre (guitar, vocals) are spot on rock and roll swagger full of teenage lust and hooky guitar riffs. The thundering, rolling, tight and loose drumming of Bruce Gary is off the hook serious rock drumming in the sprit of Keith Moon, but also simple and complex like Ringo Starr. And last but not least Prescott Niles rounds out the edges on bass guitar with a style that matches the band perfectly and without fuss. Songs like “That’s What The Little Girls Do” and “Oh Tara” are melancholy but upbeat songs explaining young relationships and the ignorance that goes into infatuation that later turns lust and scorn. “Maybe Tonight” is a rock climb of emotion. The song is about a shy guy who can’t get up the nerve to tell a girl how he feels about her but keeps planning that maybe tonight is the night. “Good Girls Don’t” was based on a Johnny Cash vocal scheme and also tells a very familiar tale to me about teenage kicks. “Lucinda” is another favorite song of mine on this record. The song sends a warning of how women can bite you back and “cut you down” and it has a great wah-wah pedal guitar solo over a slow funky beat. The last song on the album is called “Frustrated” and it is My Sharona’s evil sister because it has the same sound and energy but it has a more graphic message. If Sharona is rated PG then “Frustrated” is a Cinemax late night movie, “call her chicken delight but the flesh is on the bone and she ain’t giving you a bite”, ouch!

Now I will admit that the whole album “Get The Knack” is one long immature narrative of Fieger’s relationships and sexual experiences from his high school days and onward but with that said they also paint a nice picture, a very minimalistic picture like Picasso’s “Hand With Flowers”, but for some reason it works. The songs are really, really good and they are delivered with excellent, inspiring musicianship and production. “Get The Knack” is truly a great record if you give it a chance. My copy looks like weather worn vinyl siding. I love it. I admit it now and I don’t care.

 

Sonny Vitkauskas

TAG- Tommy

 

 

Sonny Vitkaukas

Sonny Vitkaukas

Drummer, Writer, Podcaster, Advocate

5 Responses to The Joup Friday Album “Get The Knack”
  1. Sonny Vitkaukas

    Sonny Vitkaukas Reply

    Did you listen to the album? I know it’s not entirely in your wheelhouse but even just for the songs and production quality you must admit it is a gem of a record.

  2. Sonny Vitkaukas

    Sonny Vitkaukas Reply

    Cheers Shawn and Tommy.

  3. Tommy Reply

    Your first sentence. I am SO guilty of this, and have been too may times to count.

    • Tommy Reply

      And fuck yeah! The Knack!

  4. Shawn Reply

    Great write up Sonny! Who dost thou taggeth?

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