By Ian Liberman
ROCK MUSIC AND ANIMATION
My parents introduced me to the world of classical music through animation.
I remember watching Walt Disney`s Fantasia, a vivid and vibrant interpretation of classical pieces using animated Disney characters (including Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice). When it was released in the ‘70s, Fantasia became a stoner movie. Its wild movement of intoxicating, mind-expanding, hallucinogenic colors attracted fans of psychedelic rock music.
Bugs Bunny cartoons, drawn by hand, created story themes revolving around the main character and classical masterpieces such as “The Barber of Seville” and “The Blue Danube” by Strauss.
The marriage of animation and classical music that began decades ago laid the foundation for the integration of rock music and animation.
One of the first bands to bring these two worlds together was the Beatles, who created the animated movie Yellow Submarine. It depicted a richly colored, vibrant, psychedelic odyssey of the group travelling towards Pepperland to confront the Blue Meanies, and encouraged sing-a-longs to songs such as “A Day In The Life” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”
Another classic blending of rock music and animation was the ‘80s R-rated movie, Heavy Metal. It combined metal and hard rock with intergalactic strokes of sci-fi and universal themes, interspersed with loud and vicious guitar-laden tunes. The music was used as background for the science fiction tales comprised of sex and violence. The movie mirrored the magazine of the same name, and featured music from Sammy Hagar, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and others to bring the dynamic and cartoonish stories to life.
One of the most creative animators, who was adept at fashioning live action with animated backgrounds and personalities, was American animator / film producer, Ralph Bashki. He was well known for rescuing and rebooting Mighty Mouse for television, for creating the X-rated cartoon character Fritz the Cat, and the 1978 version of Lord of the Rings.
When it came to animation and rock music, Bashki was celebrated for the animated film masterpiece entitled American Pop. The movie had an amazing soundtrack that included Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and Lou Reed. The plot followed the life of Jewish Russian Immigrants who were renowned for their musical abilities.
In more recent times, an animated rock music series called Metalocalypse was considered by critics to be raucous, violent, and artist-driven. The series was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha in 2006 for Adult Swim. It featured the voices of esteemed actors such as Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell.
In the series, Dethklok is a death metal band that has rocked their way to success based on illegal adventures, intimidation and endorsements. Groupies would commit suicide to show their unadulterated loyalty to the band. The music of Dethklok (a fictional band) came from members of metal acts such as GNR, Metallica, Foo Fighters, King Diamond and more. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled in 2016.
Click here to check out the music of Dethklok.
2017 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS
The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions continued to disappoint as usual. Deserving hard rock and metal bands were disingenuously not included on the inductee list. However, this year’s induction ceremony did have some memorable moments. The members of Rush inducted Yes; Lenny Kravitz inducted Prince; and David Letterman’s induction of Pearl Jam was the highlight of the show.
Pearl Jam performed classic tunes “Better Man” and “Alive,” before being joined by other musicians to perform a cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World.” A protest of the RRHOF was illustrated by Pearl Jam`s bassist Jeff Ament, who wore a t-shirt emblazoned with a number of the rockers that were left off the inductee list, including: Motorhead, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Slayer, and Iron Maiden. (Click here to see the shirt).
NEWS AND NOTES
Las Vegas had its first two-day rock festival, Las Rageous, featuring Avenged Sevenfold, Anthrax, and The Cult.
The U.S. Army has issued a memo banning hard rock from U.S. military stations in Washington State. Some of the bands mentioned included Slipknot, Korn and Nickelback.
Joe Walsh, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr are in the studio working on a record together.
John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils, the guitarist of the J.Geils Band, died at the age of 71. He was found dead in his home in Groton, Massachusetts on April 11, 2017. The band was famous for such tunes as “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks,” “Freeze Frame” and others.
INFERNO OF ROCK TRIVIA QUESTIONS:
APRIL 2017 TRIVIA QUESTION ANSWERS
 What do Korn, The White Stripes and Dropkick Murphys have in common?
Each band has used bagpipes in their songs.
 Which country has launched a set of David Bowie first-issues stamps into space using helium balloons?
The Royal Mail, in the U.K, released 52 sets of stamps. See them at this link. Click here to view.
MAY 2017 TRIVIA QUESTIONS
 Who was the vocalist of the J. Geils Band?
 The J. Geils Band rose to fame in the early ’80s. What year did the band form?