The Dobbs Files

Bob Dobbs -- paramedia ecologist, McLuhan archivist, and translator of Finnegans Wake -- reads rock criticism aloud like it's never been read before, while Scott Woods does his best to make sense of it all. A continuing series of probes on Richard Meltzer, Marshall McLuhan, Lester Bangs, James Joyce, et al.


EPISODE #13 (May 16, 2010): Meltzer on the "death of art forever (at least until somebody forgets)" LISTEN

EPISODE #12 (April 25, 2010): Meltzer on cliché (+ McLuhan's From Cliché to Archetype) LISTEN

EPISODE #11 (Mar. 7, 2010): Meltzer exegesis continues, re: "whole analysis-of-music bit" [LISTEN]

EPISODE #10 (Feb. 21, 2010): Meltzer exegesis continues [LISTEN]

EPISODE #9 (Feb. 1, 2010): More Meltzer exegesis by Bob, re: (for instance) "influence." [LISTEN]

EPISODE #8 (Jan. 18, 2010): Readings from the "Top Forty" chapter in Geoffrey O'Brien's Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears. [LISTEN]

EPISODE #7 (Jan. 11, 2010): Noise Annoys? Chat takes off from the sub-title of David Stubbs's Fear of Music: "Why do people get Rothko but not Stockhausen?" Quotes drawn in as well from the noise chapter in Chuck Eddy's The Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll. [LISTEN]

EPISODE #6 (Dec 21, 2009): Scott replays a scene from Bob & Ben #31 and throws a bit of Frith in the mix. Bob counters with Arthur Kroker (re: abuse value; "crash music"; music as ground, etc.). Also touched upon in this most footnotey of episodes: death of the music blogosphere as presage of the crash of Wall St.; boom boxes & iPods; Broken Social Scene & David Newfeld; the "anti-thinkingness" of rock. [LISTEN]
cf. Exceprt from Arthur Kroker's Spasm; Walter in Fringe; Zappa vs. Allan Bloom

EPISODE #5 (Dec 7, 2009): Are We Not Dead? A discussion of Bangs's 1978 Richard Hell profile ("Death Means Never Having to Say You're Incomplete") segues into a forgotten Dylan quote (from his '78 Playboy interview) regarding death and fingernail clippings. [LISTEN]
cf. Bob Dylan's 1978 Playboy interview

EPISODE #4 (Nov 29, 2009): The role of the critic, historically and now; how to read Finnegans Wake; Richard Meltzer vs. Frank Zappa vs. Marshall McLuhan... [Listen to PART 1, PART 2]
cf. Select pages/scans from Meltzer re: Zappa & McLuhan

EPISODE #3 (Nov 22, 2009): On the futility of having a point of view; clarifying Meltzer's use of "Surfin' Bird" in Aesthetics; also, why doesn't rock criticism tackle the Big Questions? [LISTEN]
cf. Lyrics to "Surfin' Bird" by the Trashmen

EPISODE #2 (Nov 15, 2009): Bob performs in-depth readings of various passages from Meltzer's The Aesthetics of Rock, including a detailed analysis of Meltzer's "unknown tongues" theory [Listen to PART 1, PART 2, PART 3]
cf. Tactility as Unknown Tongue: Bob vs. Finnegans Wake vs. McLuhan vs. Meltzer (Identical Men from Parallel Universes)

EPISODE #1 (Nov 9, 2009): Laying some groundwork: synaesthesia, tactility, architecture; James Joyce & Wyndham Lewis; Bangs & Kraftwerk; Meltzer; emotion; is rock criticism stupid?; etc. [Listen to PART 1, PART 2]
cf. Lester Bangs's Kraftwerkfeature

More stuff

  • Loads of mp3 interviews with Bob Dobbs @ Dobbstown
  • Bob's website and chatboard, Fivebodied
  • interview archives (incl. Scott Woods interview w/Richard Meltzer ca 2000)
  •'s Lester Bangs resource
  • Bob & Ben: Bob Dobbs & Ben Watson discuss Marx, Joyce & McLuhan over the oeuvre of Frank Zappa