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Thread: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

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    Nothing halfway lyric_girl's Avatar
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    Just curious, if the use of mandolins in rock songs is looked upon favorably here. I love REM and saw them live twice this month with full LMR and all and was really stoked. Of course, other rock songs come to mind b4 REM like Maggie May.

    The mandolin seems, to my newbie eyes, to be more of a bluegrass or classical instrument.

    Just curious what everybody thinks.

    Thanks,

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (lyric_girl @ June 25 2008, 22:24)
    Just curious, if the use of mandolins in rock songs is looked upon favorably here.
    Sure, and there are a number of posts regarding mandolins in rock, or playing rock favorites on mandolin.


    I think the mandolin is versatile enough to play anything. I do think, however, that the way the mandolin has been used in the rock and roll or pop world has been kind of tame. I don't hear anyone really taking full advantage of it, much less pushing the mandolin envelope.

    I might be wrong, others with more experience need to respond.



    Rock and pop have never been a strong musical interest. I have a CD collection of several several several hundred CDs, and maybe one or two rock CDs among them. I have a LP collection that almost as extensive, and maybe 5 or 6 of my LPs are rock albums. There is no rock in my huge pile of cassettes.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Whole Cafe forum on rock etc. here.
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    Violins and Mandolins Stephanie Reiser's Avatar
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    Check out the Indigo Girls sometime.
    They play Alt/Folk/Rock style mostly acoustic instruments, and both play mando, one plays banjo, and both play guitar.
    http://www.stephaniereiser.com then click mandolins

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    In most cases the mando (like many other non-guitar/non-bass/non-drums instruments) is integrated into rock music to add some flavor, and it does that job well. I came into folk music via listening to Jethro Tull who used to employ the odd mandolin every now and then.

    There are those who just leave it at that. If it sounds good, why bother?

    There are those who resent the fact that it could do more, that much of its potential is not used; some say their beloved favourite instrument is reduced to a clown role in an environment it was never made for (which I can perfectly understand).

    There are those who see it as a way of making an exotic instrument known to and accepted by a wider audience (which worked for me, obviously).

    These are - roughly - the categories popping up in those discussions. All of them have a point worth considering. And they are sometimes discussed heavily here on the Cafe, yes (yielding no absolute winner, of course).

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    Registered User Uncle Choppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (bertramH @ June 26 2008, 12:06)
    In most cases the mando (like many other non-guitar/non-bass/non-drums instruments) is integrated into rock music to add some flavor, and it does that job well. I came into folk music via listening to Jethro Tull who used to employ the odd mandolin every now and then.

    There are those who just leave it at that. If it sounds good, why bother?

    There are those who resent the fact that it could do more, that much of its potential is not used; some say their beloved favourite instrument is reduced to a clown role in an environment it was never made for (which I can perfectly understand).

    There are those who see it as a way of making an exotic instrument known to and accepted by a wider audience (which worked for me, obviously).

    These are - roughly - the categories popping up in those discussions. All of them have a point worth considering. And they are sometimes discussed heavily here on the Cafe, yes (yielding no absolute winner, of course).

    Bertram
    I'd like to thank Bertram for a very eloquent post.

    I too got into the mandolin via Jethro Tull. As far as I'm aware, it was always a "significant minority" instrument in the Folk/Rock acts popular here in the UK during the 1970s. Bands like Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention , Steeleye Span (and Spinal Tap!) have all featured the mandolin quite heavily. Check out some of Niles Hokkanen's posts (username "Mandocrucian") on this board for loads of details about the mandolin in rock.

    I'd certainly never heard any Bluegrass music and had no idea about the mandolin's significance in that genre before I joined here!

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    There are even a few heretics (such as myself), that don't care much for bluegrass at all. The mandolin works very well for blues.
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    Registered User Greg H.'s Avatar
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    If you listen to Sam Bush's Peaks of Telluride he has mandolin covering rock and bluegrass very well (Bush, while originally a bluegrass musician has a very strong Reggee and Allman Bros. leaning).



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    Arguably Nickel Creek's last album is more acoustic rock than anything else, and mando certainly is at the fore in it!
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    The ultimate mandolin pop/rock song? It's a contender ...

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    something about the Greatful Dead too, eh?

    I,"know" about bluegrass and have seen some great acts over the decades. I don't play much of it though. I play mostly old-time and Celtic. About 2 or 3 years ago, began to play a bit of classical. Fact is, it there's a compelling melody, I usually want to play it on my mandolin. The color parts of playing, just don't much appeal to me - i.e., embellishments in rock and pentatonic breaks.

    I do love playing the mandolin though!

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    Registered User Pasha Alden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    Learnt about mandolin in pop and rock music through Bruce Hornsby and the Range and Bruce Springstine.
    Another contender is Styx: who can forget Boat on the River?

    Well it can certainly take its place as a cool and exotic instrument in contemporary music, pop or rock.

    Also love it in the work of Jethro Tull.

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    Down the road I go Trav'linmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    Lyric_girl, I decided long ago to play what I wished to. Not some one else idea. Currently working on Zombies 1966 hit 'She's not there' . Which Carlos Santana made into a large hit also. I don't stick to one genre. Have to many r&r songs in my head.
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    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    the mandolin is not a bluegrass or classical instrument.

    the mandolin is an instrument that is used in bluegrass or classical music, as well as jazz, pop, rock and about every other genre (except hopefully gangster rap).


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    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    I also find myself in the camp that has no interest in bluegrass. I have spent my whole life listening to rock folk and blues and that is what I like to play on guitar as well as mandolin. I actually found mandolin through "Copperhead Road". There are many other artists that use mandolin like Led Zeppelin Rod Stewart Rory Gallagher and Bad Company. Simple or not music is music. Looking down on it because it is not complex enough is ignoring the feeling of it which is most of what makes music useful at least to me. I will continue to enjoy mandolin wherever I find it and if it takes only two open chords that's ok with me.

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    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    I do eagles, bon jovi, tom petty, rem, blue rodeo, styx, steve earl, led zep, dillan, the band, bobby ferrin, irish rovers, originals, band of heathens, gillian welch, stones, ozzy, marshal tucker, goo goo dolls, doobies, KW Shepherd, Nirvana... mandolin and family can play anything. I am not a bluegrass player. wish I had the speed. but I solo accompany and have to do more chording and arpeggio stuff
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    Most of the bands mentioned use the mandolin as a, dare I say, novelty. There are a few bands that use(d) mandolin as a frontline lead instrument. Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon, Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident, but both of those are sort of "bluegrass rock."

    There was a band that toured around the southeast in the early 1990's, Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. They had a phenomenal mandolin player, Matt Mundy. It was a really weird band, but chocked full of fantastic musicians.





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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    Like Barry I play different things, Cat Stevens, Heart, Bruce Springstine, Styx, still working on some of Tull's stuff and my own compositions.

    Happy playing.

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    Registered User Jes Woodland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    +1 for playing whatever I like on the Mando....Favourites at the moment are 'summer of 69' - Bryan Adams, 'don't stop believin' - journey and allsorts by Jethro Tull.Have also been trying some "Big Big Train" stuff,who use the mandolin a fair bit.
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    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Balrog68 View Post
    +1 for playing whatever I like on the Mando....Favourites at the moment are 'summer of 69' - Bryan Adams, 'don't stop believin' - journey and allsorts by Jethro Tull.Have also been trying some "Big Big Train" stuff,who use the mandolin a fair bit.
    How do you hold a mandolin without setting it ablaze?

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    Registered User Dan Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    We used to work in 'Ball and Chain' by Social Distortion into every gig. We were a 'middle aged' band so it always surprised the listeners. Great country song lyrics!
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    I think Losing My Religion would sound fantastic on a mandolin. I'll have to put that one on my list of songs to learn. I don't play any bluegrass at all. I play a lot of what my dad played on his Gibson acoustic and I like many of the Hornpipe tunes. Everything to me sounds beautiful on a mandolin.
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    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Kala tenor ukulele, Mandobird, Godin A8, Dobro Mandolin, Gold Tone mandola, Gold Tone OM, S'oarsey mandocello, Gold Tone Irish tenor banjo, Gold Tone M bass, Taylor 214 CE Koa, La Patrie Concert CW, Fender Strat powered by Roland, Yamaha TRBX174 bass, Epiphone ES-339 with GK1

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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    The group I play with used to play a mix of different genres (we didn't know any better then, now we just stick to Irish stuff)

    I had no problem finding a role for mandolin in anything we played - with one exception - Reggae.

    It's not that I didn't like the Reggae, far from it... but I just couldn't manage to make the mandolin do anything useful there.


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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rem - losing my religion and other rock songs

    Quote Originally Posted by cbakewell View Post
    The group I play with used to play a mix of different genres (we didn't know any better then, now we just stick to Irish stuff)

    I had no problem finding a role for mandolin in anything we played - with one exception - Reggae.
    Mandolin is ideal for Reggae: just chop on the back-beat and you can play the role usually given to the rhythm guitarist just fine.

    Just saying....

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