rock music

Stoked by a rabid tabloid press and international interest the likes of which hasn’t been seen in pop music since, the Beatles-Rolling Stones rivalry was considered overblown even by members of each band. But below the surface, there was plenty of tension and competition, often good-natured but sometimes nasty, especially as the 60s came to a close.

Tony Fletcher, a writer now living in the Hudson Valley, shares an origin story with many of the British rockers he has spent a lifetime chronicling: modest beginnings on sometimes rough London streets, a single-parent home, an early obsession with records, band trivia, and ear-thumping shows.

  From London’s West End, the worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton, We Will Rock You, is coming to Proctors in Schenectady, NY this weekend - running on the mainstage November 29th through December 1.

The show is a bona-fide hit and has been running for 11 years in London. This is the first North American Tour of the sci-fi musical-theater extravaganza which by all accounts honors the iconic music that frames it - the music of Queen.

Ryan Knowles plays Buddy (as in “Buddy you're a boy make a big noise playin' in the street gonna be a big man some day”). Ryan’s other credits include off-broadway productions of NEWSical: The Musical, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Caligula Maximus, Fools in Love, and National Tours of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and OZ: The Musical.

Guitarist Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band knows plenty about good band chemistry, and for 40 years, his favorite group and one of the 60’s most influential bands, The Rascals, lay dormant in what he called “a crime against nature.”

Rock legend Ray Davies was already facing transitions in his personal and professional life in 2004, when, one week after being named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth, he was shot in the leg during a mugging in New Orleans. Davies had come to New Orleans in a search for musical authenticity and a compass for his personal life. Instead, he found himself a violent crime victim and anchored to a bed for weeks.

In the traditionally male-dominated world of rock and roll, The Runaways stuck out like a sore thumb – which was exactly what they wanted when they came together in 1975 Los Angeles. They were young women in a man’s world, and they thrived on the adversity that arrangement fostered.

In his new book, music journalist John Milward traces the evolution of blues music across American history, connecting the often long lost songs of sharecroppers to the rock and roll of bands like the Rolling Stones celebrated by white teenagers.

Detroit has hit a rough patch of late, but to hear the veterans of its music scene tell it, the city has always been something of a rough patch – and that helps to explain the blue collar, underdog charm that infused its rock and roll.

Los Angeles had its Laurel Canyon folk-rockers and San Francisco had the hippie dreamers, but Detroit had snarl, with groups like the MC5, the Amboy Dukes and their wild guitarist Ted Nugent, and the now legendary Bob Seger.

Author and Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield spends a lot of time listening to music. He is one of those music fans who can recall Britny Fox and Twisted Sister b-sides with the same enthusiasm other people have for The Beatles. Actually, he loves them too.

But aside from some mean tambourining at rock and roll fantasy camp, Sheffield, who is familiar to VH1 viewers, has never been very musically inclined — when many of his peers were trying to make it in underground indie bands, he was the guy at the bar scribbling notes.

The Chelsea Hotel played home to New York City’s bohemian art scene for a hugely influential chunk of the 20th century, bringing together artists, musicians, junkies, gangsters and gamblers under one roof.

It’s where Dee Dee Ramone wrote punk songs and where Sid and Nancy entered the vernacular forever. It’s also where Andy Warhol's circle gathered and where Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix took up residence.

But rent at the hotel, dating to 1883, is now through the iconic roof, and its era as an artists’ haven is past.