“Have you guys heard of David Bowie? …OF COURSE YOU HAVE! That’s Glam Rock,” said Vadim Akimenko at the start of his Nerdnite talk, “Glam Rock 101 – The differences between GLAM-rock & Glam-RAWK,”
“Come on Feel the Noise.” He said, taking a long sip out of one of the glasses he had on a stool next to him, “That’s actually a Glam Rock Song.”
“We’ve got three of these to take care of,” Akimenko said as he adjusted the mic stand. Going on, he explained that Glam Rock was really big in the 70’s in England, and although it influenced many musicians over the years it never really made it big anywhere else.
There are two branches of Glam Rock, “GLAM-rock,” and, “Glam-RAWK,” and the difference between them is a very subtle one. “Glam-RAWK was rooted in the 50’s music, much more full on party music,” he said, “While GLAM-rock is much more rooted in artsier sounds.”
He highlighted the difference as he talked about groups like Roxy Music and David Bowie, versus Slade and Gary Glitter citing them as examples of the difference between the two sub categories. Akimenko explained that David Bowie and Roxy Music were more on the arty experimental side, “they put emphasis on not only the music and having a good time, but pushed the boundaries.” While Gary Glitter and Slade were more straight up Rock and Roll party music, “and much more hard driving. There is a general rambunctiousness to the sound,” he said.
But the biggest and most obvious difference between the two is the clothing. Although, Glam-RAWK he described as being more conservative while GLAM-rock was the more outrageous of the two they both seem equally outrageous in their own way.
From there, the talk became a little more free form as Akimenko jumped back and forth from band to band drawing connections and highlighting the importance of Gary Glitter, and responding to random commentary and questions from the audience. As his lecture evolved into a highly entertaining long train of thought, and almost became performance art he said, “I kind of got lost because that’s what I do when I talk about music, I totally get lost and I go on tangents.”
The audience laughed as Akimenko repeated a question, “Why is Gary Glitter so important?…” he said, “Because he has three fucking songs, but he made that into a three decade career.”
He paused for a drink and said in a more serious tone, “No, it actually has to do with how much influence he had on everything.”
Akimenko went on to talk about Rock and Roll part 1 & 2 as examples of Gary Glitters longevity and which are regularly played in stadiums to this day. “Part one is far superior, but they don’t ever play it in the United States” he said. He explained that Gary Glitter has influenced other bands with songs like, “Do you wanna touch me,” “You’re Beautiful,” and Joan Jett’s, “I Love Rock and Roll.”
Even though it didn’t have a major presence in the United States, Glam Rock hit it big in the Mid West, influencing bands like Kiss and Alice Cooper eventually spawning the hair metal bands of the 80’s. “You’ve all heard of Kiss!? Direct influence of Slade,” he said, “You’ve all heard of Alice Cooper!? Direct influence of Slade.”
Even Punk rock was rolled into the mix as he talked about how The Ramones were directly influenced by GLAM rock. ” Um… Dee Dee and Joey, both in Glam Rock bands before they were in anything else,” he said.
Akimenko’s passion for music was winning and although he said, “I don’t usually talk to a lot of people about this, because most people walk away at this point.” He was just kind of a cool dude who was excited to talk to people about something he loved. Listening to him talk about music, tattoos, and pause for uncontrollable laughter while lamenting his lack of computer savvy, and wrestling with the mic stand, it felt like we were hanging out with a friend at a party. For some people his talk was kind of a “train wreck,” but I am going to call it very “Rock and Roll” and ultimately I think it had the kind of DIY unpretentious feel that Nerdnite is all about.