Updated August 23, 2011

Share Agony aunt or font of all wisdom, Rock 'n' Roll Mum is always around to give you advice. Whether it's a question about music, a relationship query or you just need a shoulder to cry on, Rock 'n' Roll Mum can help. If you can't trust Mum, who can you rely ? Mail Rock 'n' Roll Mum your question here.

LOSING MOJO AIN'T BOXING SMART

HI MUM,

I am sorely vexed.  I think I?'ve lost my mojo.  I?'ve looked everywhere.  I pulled apart an unused fuzzbox, it wasn?'t in there.  Wasn?'t in the guitar case under the bed either.  I found a box and, for a moment, thought I?d found it, but the box was full of many copies of a magazine named MOJO, which isn?t quite the same thing.

Then I found a stack of letters asking me for money, because my German mate told me if I rode through tollgates on the right hand side the cameras couldn'?t read my numberplate but it turns out that they can.  And I found an awful lot of odd socks that I can?t for the life of me match up.

All this, and I still can?t find my mojo.  Should I look under the pile of papers on my desk?  Any other ideas?  Maybe I should look inside all my record sleeves, I hid some wicked speed in one of them in 2001 and still haven?t remembered which one it was.

What minimum bid should I put on the MOJO magazines when I sell them on eBay?

Regards,

SONNY LISTON
Tobacco Road

 

DEAR SONNY,
 
This is an amazing event! As you died way back in 1970, Sonny, you've achieved what all have thought impossible - written a letter from the grave! I'd better contact Cardinal Pell and tell him about this miracle! Plus Damien was wearing a Sonny t-shirt at a Rifles gig recently - I believe this must be a sign that you've crossed over.
 
Mojo:
- magic or spells.
- power; charisma.
- sex appeal; sex drive.
- heroin; morphine; cannabis.
- a narcotics addict.
 
Now, I'm not sure which of the above applies to the 'mojo' you are searching for. As you can see, there are many forms of this word.
 
However, I will assume it's the power/charisma mojo you're seeking. This tends to go missing at various stages in one's life, but you can get it back, whereas when the sex appeal/sex drive one goes missing, there's only a slim chance it will come back!
 
I lost mine - this is the power/charisma version - when I was in a situation where I listened to a lot of Yes albums and moved to the country.... but it returned when I moved to the city and listened to the Ramones, Sex Pistols etc. and, most importantly, frequented dingy pubs to see live bands.
 
I know you think you're looking in all the right places, but I think you have to go deeper than that! I mean, I've got a box full of Mojo magazines, they just keep getting moved from one place to the next - I'm saving them so I can get some idea of what was going down, when I get old - well, older. Of course, someone will possibly have to read them to me as I could well lose my eyesight, but then I could also be deaf so I could be wasting my time hanging on to this stuff!
 
Have also got piles of albums; which reminds me, I must go searching for any speed I may have hidden in there, but I doubt that would be the case. If you find yours maybe I could come over and help you get rid of it whilst listening to the album you find it in.
 
As to selling Mojo on eBay, I'm not really au fait with that particular area as I have a problem with those who buy stuff at Vinnies for $5 and then put it on eBay for $20 and someone ends up bidding $50. Anyway, there would be heaps of people out there with stacks of Mojos under the bed so I'd just keep hanging on to them if I were you. They'll come in handy in some way eventually... that's what I keep telling my Partner in Punk and he believes it.
 
I believe the only way to find, and hang on to, one's mojo is to look deep within as that is where it is. As a cure I would recommend that you attend a live gig with your favourite bands every weekend if possible. It may take a week or two for it to fully return, but I guarantee it will eventually take hold.
 
Of course, you must also believe that it will return. There's no point in going about it half-arsed and negative... you've got to reach into your very soul and believe, brother. You've got to go into the gig chanting to yourself "mojo, reveal thyself" - in fact you've got to start chanting prior to leaving the house whilst listening to the band you're about to see. You've got psych yourself up so you'll be ready when the mojo suddenly kicks in.
 
Because when it does, there will be no holding it back - it is a powerful force. Please hang on to it when it returns as you can't keep writing to me every time it disappears - you've got to stand on your own two feet next time.

Take control with rock 'n' roll!
 
ROCK 'N' ROLL MUM


IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

DEAR ROCK 'N' ROLL MUM

Unfortunately, I know a handful of narcissistic middle aged meltdowns who hate to see any of their musician peers continue to play, tour, and have a life. They're vindictive, selfish, and malicious enough to actively interfere with their old associates activities and successes despite not having been in the picture for decades. 

Is it wrong of me to take out a contract on these loudmouth losers? Does it make me as morally reprehensible to respond to their taunts and threats? Please guide me through this morass. I fear for my psyche.

JUNGLE BUNNY

DEAR JUNGLE BUNNY,
 
Have to ponder that moniker you've given yourself there. Very interesting. I mean, you don't find many bunnies in the jungle. Well, not in the jungle I've been in anyway. Or are you a Playboy type bunny who loves the jungle. The explanations are endless, but I digress....
 
It is fortuitous that you've written to me on this subject. Being of a mature age, I encounter ageism in all its forms, all over the place. I mean, I don't mind if it gets you a seat on the bus, or further ahead in a queue etc., or protection if you're close to the mosh. It does have it's positives.
 
However, ageism in music is one thing I cannot abide. Journalists have a nasty habit of alluding to the fact that a band is old - if they're over 25 - whenever they get the opportunity - the "Strolling Bones" is one that could have me reaching for the rocket launcher - if I had one. But I'm a pacifist so I don't. If I wasn't that would be my weapon of choice! These derogatory remarks are never made about Bo Diddley or Chuck Berry - as indeed it shouldn't.
 
I cannot believe that fellow musicians would in any way "actively interfere" with those who choose to keep doing what they obviously love. I thank God every week that the bands I admire are still out there. They have given me the greatest gift, the gift of their music, which keeps me from becoming like my peers - perish the thought! I can never repay them for the joy they have given me.
 
Unfortunately, the very problem with these "narcissistic middle aged meltdowns" is that lack of generosity. Perhaps in reality they have nothing to give their past fans. I can't imagine what sort of interference they subject those to that continue to play their music for the punters. Do they untune their guitars just prior to their going on, or take the drummer's drumstick supplies? Or pay the sound guy to fuck it up mid set? Or make off with the lead guitarist's girl?
 
I think one has to endeavour to remain calm in the face of this lunacy. Taking out a contract could be a bit severe - depending on the degree of active interference. But I think we've learned that violence never solves anything - it just spirals out of control and it would be like the end of Smokin' Aces or The Wild Bunch - everybody would be dead Dave!
 
Take on a look of smugness, like you know this  amazing secret - the secret of life, the universe and everything! Always pontificate about which pub you're gonna go to and the bands and how everyone who's anyone in Sydney rock is gonna be there. Then when you see 'em next, walk like you're floating air, the music lifted you to another level. Everyone there was blown away, man!
 
What you definitely must not do is let these dickheads stuff up your psyche! You're above that. Remember what TISM said "you're never more than five yards from a f***wit" - truer words were never spoken.
 
These losers obviously no longer have the talent to reach the heights they once had - or thought they had. Even worse, they don't have the courage to get back into it or the commitment to the people who once loved their music and still want to hear it.
 
They're not worth worrying about  Jungle Bunny - gotta rise above it I'm afraid. They're just lookin' for a reaction. There's nothing else in their lives, poor bastards.
They're probably the type who go to a gig ever ten years, get totally off their face, talk all the way through the band and end up face down in the gutter on the way home - we live in hope!
 
I hope I've given you some solace - I tend to run on a bit! In fact, I think I'd better go back and edit a bit or we'll both lose the plot!
 
See you down the front.

ROCK 'N' ROLL MUM


SITTING ON THE FENCE CAN GET HAIRY

DEAR ROCK 'N' ROLL MUM

I'm in a rock n roll dilemma here and fear that I have no other options but to consult you on this matter. You see, I went to see the Fireballs recently. As you know, there were originally a three-piece but now there are only two original members in the band. Matt Black is no longer playing and instead of him on guitar, they have two ex-members of the Shine on guitar.

The problem is that this has changed their sound somewhat. Now you hear glam metal guitar which is very different from Matt Black's original guitar sound. So I'm in a rock 'n' roll pickle re: whether I enjoyed the gig or not because I couldn?t help thinking that the Fireballs now sound much different from the Fireballs of yesterday. Do I let myself enjoy the "new" Fireballs or do I stand true to the original Fireballs & say "they aren?t as good as they used to be"?

I also couldn't help but notice that the double bass player (Joe Phantom) has an interesting hair style. The only way I can describe it is with the term "hair fence". I'm sure you are wondering what the heck that is? Well it's a coif with hair running around the circumference of the head which then joins the other side of the coif with no hair on the top of the head, otherwise known as the monk's spot. Here is a link to a photo that shows you what I mean and you can see it in the video below:

Should Joe Phantom admit defeat in the face of hair adversity & shave the whole thing off or continue cultivating the "hair fence"? Looking forward to your words of rock n roll wisdom!

CONFUSED FIREBALLS FAN
BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND

 

DEAR CONFUSED FIREBALLS FAN,

You have found yourself in the complex situation that afflicts many who start out with a band from the very beginning, not foreseeing the intricate machinations that occur between band members as time goes on or taking into account the possibility that someone may actually be called to the ultimate gig from which they will never return i.e. death! Thank God that's not the case here!

I myself have been in this dilemma also when the Fireballs announced their first Christmas concert in Melbourne. Off we went down south with great excitement, only to find as the band came on stage that Matt Black was not there. He had been replaced by the two guitarists you mention. Perhaps in hindsight, if we had known prior to purchasing tickets, we would not have gone. You are right, it is not the same.

I think in this situation you have to ask yourself whether you're devoted to the music as a whole or loyal to the one person who brought that music alive. For myself and Tarquin, my Partner in Punk, Matt Black was an extremely important cog in the Fireballs' wheel and although more recently I was tempted to give them one more chance, Tarquin won't have a bar of it!

It's like AC/DC without Bon - for me, the "new guy" never quite drew the adoration I had for Bon, whereas Tarquin says it doesn't matter as it's been so long now he's the singer and that's that. In the case of The Angels, Tarquin won't go because Doc isn't there, I love the Brewster Bros.' guitar work so I can just manage without Doc - may put this one to the test in the coming weeks. Then you have The Tatts without Pete, Ian etc., Asteroid B-612 and so on. For me The Tatts will never be the same; the Asteroids successfully reinvented themselves.

It is a very difficult position to be in - up there with what's the meaning of life, the universe and everything; although Douglas Adams did give us the answer to that one. I wish he could assist me with this one!

I believe the state of Joe Phantom's hair pales into insignificance up against whether you're supposed to enjoy the music as a whole. This is really a matter for Joe to decide when he feels it's time to forego his normal look. He has to make that decision - we can't make it for him.

For myself, I don't believe two guitarists, no matter how talented, can replace Matt Black and I'm holding out to go see him at the Factory - even though it's not one of my favourite venues. But I'm prepared to overlook that to hear Matt play - even though I won't get to hear XXX again. I'm prepared to support Matt in Double Black so obviously my loyalties lie with the person.

So my advice is to decide whether your loyalties lie with the music or the musician. It all comes down to whether XXX, Spaceman Rock and Roll, Dream Pills, Don't Bother Me etc. had the sound you wanted to hear or not.

On reading your missive, I believe you didn't really enjoy the gig because all the time you were worrying about whether you were supposed to or not and you were obviously distraught over Matt's absence - so under these circumstances were you really listening with every fibre of your being? I think not.

I quite possibly haven't really given you a complete answer to your dilemma. In the end it comes down to what's in your heart. I'd say your heart wanted Matt to be up there.

ROCK 'N' ROLL MUM

 

 

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