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Robot A. Hull

Robot A. Hull

ROBERT (ROBOT) HULL was born of a preacherman and a high-school cheerleader in West Tennessee on the day The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T was released. His first favorite record was by Heckle and Jeckle, whose magpie image danced on the surface of a four-sided mirror spindle. As a blue-sueded greasy teen, Robert lived in the suburbs of Whitehaven, one mile from Graceland, and would frequently piss, after hours, on Elvis’ gated and walled domain. Thus begat the spirit of the now-famous Memphis Goonz, who released ten singles in four days to absolutely no acclaim in 1968. In Memphis, Robert grew up listening to Rufus T. all night on the radio and Anthony Braxton on the stereo.


Totally confused, he matriculated to Brown University in seedy Providence, RI, where he met the legendary Mad Peck and established a reputation as a neer-do-well scholar and gentleman at America’s (then) only college radio station, WBRU. One day after submitting 100 record reviews to the prankster Lester Bangs, he changed his life and forever abandoned any goals of becoming a solid citizen.

From 1973 through 1986, Mr. Hull served as a chief contributing editor for CREEM (still America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine), and from 1978-1985 was the chief music critic for THE WASHINGTON POST. From 1988 until 2005, Mr. Hull was the senior editor and executive producer for TIME-LIFE MUSIC, where he compiled and produced thousands of CD compilations of lost popular music. Mr. Hull has written for every rock rag under the sun--from ROLLING STONE to BILLBOARD-- taught pop music courses at the University of Virginia, worked as a music archivist, been a TV columnist, scripted syndicated comix, produced national radio shows, consulted on numerous TV/DVD rock histories, done the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame thing, and once had Lou Reed claim live onstage that "Robot" was his all-time favorite rock critic.

Unlike many of Mr. Hull’s critical cohorts, he does not think rock ‘n’ roll ended with Altamont, disco, the Sex Pistols, MTV, ABBA, rap, or George Bush. Instead, he firmly believes that rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay, beating in the hearts of all of us, everyday, whenever we feel the pounding in our loins and the pain in our hearts.

Mr. Hull is currently developing the new Memphis Goonz CD, Happy Gawd, and working on his magnum opus, Bummer Road, which his mother will bring to a publisher in a paper bag after his death, claiming her son was mentally ill, ensuring the book’s long-term cult status as a comic masterpiece.

May Mr. Robot A. Hull rest in peace.

Robot's blog on blurt-online

Pop Krazy

The Memphis Goons!

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20/20: 20/20

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1980

HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20. In '79-'80, a pop renaissance is supposedly under way, stirring itself from a long hibernation like a groggy Boo Boo Bear, ...

ABBA: ABBA (Atlantic)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1976

SOUND WAVES encircle the globe mesmerizing the populace of countries like France, Greece, Italy, England, etc., international explosive pop, created by Swedes (Abba for short), ...

ABBA: Arrival

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1977

Gushing with enthusiastic naivete, here come those sibilant Swedes again, blanketing the globe with the affectionate harmonies of polar sirens! With the abracadabra of inventive ...

Altered Images: Happy Birthday (Portrait/Epic)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1982

ALTERED IMAGES' debut album is an unforeseen delight: a surprise party where the kids play whatever games strike their fancies. During the din of celebration, ...

Badfinger: Wish You Were Here (Warner Brothers)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, February 1975

BADFINGER IS imitation Raspberries, and Raspberries is imitation Goofy Grape fruit drink, which is imitation Kool-Aid, and IMITATIONS ARE BETTER THAN THE REAL STUFF. ...

Big Star: Third (PVC)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1979

GROWING UP IN Memphis back in '67, I used to get tired of hearing the Box Top's ‘The Letter’ (#1 hit in the world that ...

Black Oak Arkansas: Raunch'n'Roll

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, June 1973

THE SORTA people who listen to Black Oak Arkansas are about the closest things to teenage Frankensteins in existence. They hide out in the hills ...

Blondie: Blondie (Private Stock)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1977

THIS BLONDIE SURE AIN’T NO BUMSTEAD! MORE MUSTARD THAN ANY DAGWOOD SANDWICH! Alright, all y’all lokul yokuls out there in hickland splittin’ yer sides at ...

James Booker: New Orleans Piano Wizard: Live!

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, June 1982

IN ONE OF THE oddest occurrences in recent memory, a newly-released album that recalls the smoke-filled music of a French Quarter bar better than any ...

David Bowie: David Live (RCA)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1975

ERIK IMPORTS proudly presents David Blow-Up onstage doing the martian hop in Philadelphia, dazzling in ghostly radiance in his new blue suit and shedding his ...

Bread: The Best Of Bread

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, June 1973

THI IS IT, this is it, this is it! The wimps rule; there's no doubt about it. AM critters like Steely Dan and King Harvest ...

Brownsville Station: Motor City Connection

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, November 1975

INSTANT CUT-OUT!! It's a shame, too, cuz Brownsville Station produced many sweathog elpees over the years. Cept now you find 'em all in bargain bins. ...

T-Bone Burnett: T Bone Burnett: Truth Decay

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, October 1980

RIGHT OFF THE bat T-Bone Burnett has three things going for him: He was born in Tokyo (home of the Jolly Green Godzilla), raised in ...

J.J. Cale: J. J. Cale: Really (Shelter)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1973

J.J. CALE just loves to mumble. Like, if he were peeking over my shoulder right now, watching me write this, and I suddenly asked him ...

John Cale: Honi Soit

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, August 1981

WHEN JOHN CALE left the Velvet Underground for ever more mysterious sojourns, the theme he took with him was one of violence. ...

Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa: Zappa and Beefheart: Penguins In Bondage

Interview by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1976

Master MasterThis is recorded thru uh flies ear 'n you have t' have uh flies eye t' see it it's the thing that's gonna make ...

Marshall Chapman: Jaded Virgin (Epic)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, October 1978

‘I don't do as much honky tonkin' these days as I used to. I'd rather watch Charlie Chan on TV now. I'm gonna start writing ...

Chic: Risque (Atlantic)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, December 1979

THERE'S ONLY one alternative to being stylish, and that's being trashy. Consider fascist Steve Dahl touring the country with his anti-disco army, a slow funeral ...

Chic: Take It Off (Atlantic)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1982

THE TURNTABLE'S smouldering and the needle's popping. And there it is again: that unmistakable duel between Bernard Edwards' wrist-snapping bass work and Nile Rodgers' guitar ...

Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies

Review by Robot A. Hull, Phonograph Record, May 1973

"One of these days somebody's gonna have enough guts to take a machine gun and fire into all the sicko creeps we got running loose ...

The Cramps: Songs The Lord Taught Us

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, July 1980

RECORDED AT SAM PHILLIPS’ Studio in Memphis and produced by Alex Chilton (the Box Tops' former Big Star), Songs The Lord Taught Us fries the ...

The Cure: …Happily Ever After

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1982

"ORDER IS A NECESSARY condition for anything the human mind is to understand," writes Rudolph Arnheim inEntropy And Art. ...

Deep Purple: Who Do We Think We Are? and Made In Japan

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1973

DEEP PURPLE sure does play a godamn LOUD concert. I thought Cactus and Johnny Winter were bad, but hell Jon Lord knows how to cave ...

Rick Derringer: Sweet Evil

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1977

KNOW ABSOLUTELY zero zilch about this Rick Derringer cat 'cept the basic facts, mac – like he was once in the McCoys (Rick's been told ...

The Dream Syndicate: The Days Of Wine And Roses

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1983

I HOLD IN MY HAND promo material an inch thick containing innumerable denials from this hot band, L.A'.s Dream Syndicate, on how they do not ...

The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac: The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac: Live

Review by Robot A. Hull, Washington Post, The, December 1980

LIVE ROCK ALBUMS, especially the pompous two-record variety, generally are an excuse for extended guitar work and prolonged drum solos. A marketing strategy and a ...

Eddie & The Hot Rods: Life On The Line (Island)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, February 1978

When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette... ...

Dave Edmunds: D E7th (Columbia)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, September 1982

A HARDHEARTED TRADITIONALIST with forthright dedication, Dave Edmunds has sought to preserve the classical textuality of rock 'n' roll for 15 years crashing headlong through ...

Joe Ely: Musta Notta Gotta Lotta

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, June 1981

ALL THE ROCKABILLY revivalists have been clinging to every neo-rockabilly act (Matchbox, Crazy Cavan) and every honky-tonk hack (Delbert McClinton, Gary Stewart) so loudly for ...

The Flamin' Groovies: Flamin' Groovies: Shake Some Action (Bomp!)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, September 1976

FOR THOSE OF YOU wondering where rock & roll has been all your lives (grew up on Jimi Hendnx and heavy-metal, didn't ya, bosco-brain?), well, ...

Foghat: Energized

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1974

THUFFERING THUCCATASH!! A NEW FROGHAT (or is it Hookfoot?) ALBUM! Man, that's about as exciting as a re-run of Car 54, Where Are You? ...

Free: Heartbreaker

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1973

ERIC FALCON, local guppy for a major Memphis underground music radio station, claims that Free is the most exciting group around. He feels that a ...

The Go-Go's: The Go-Go’s: Vacation

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, November 1982

"ASK ANY TEN people in the popular recording field about female singers and nine of them will say, 'forget it, the percentage of girl singers ...

The Good Rats: Tasty

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, November 1974

OH BOY, eat em up!! The greaze, the gutz, the Music Machine is back! Right, this is the same group that gave ya that wonderful ...

Grateful Dead: Europe '72 (Warner Bros.)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, February 1973

I'VE BEEN TO THREE Grateful Dead concerts in my life, and at each one I fell asleep. Oh, everybody else was pretending to be shimmying ...

Al Green: The Belle Album (Hi)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1978

Trust in the Lord and you too can have great looking hair. ...

Iron City Houserockers: Have A Good Time (But Get Out Alive)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, September 1980

AS A CITY where the populace chews steel for a living, Pittsburgh is an unlikely birthplace for a significant rock band (the Jaggerz don't count). ...

The Jam: This Is The Modern World

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1978

QUICKIE QUIZ – The Jam is a throwback band that most closely resembles one of the following: (a) 3 Dog Night (b) The Who (c) ...

Jethro Tull: Heavy Horses (Chrysalis)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, July 1978

CRIPES, NOT another Jethro Toenail record! WHY? Seems like only yesteryear that Lezter Brainz wuz comparing their bo-de-o-dos to 'Nam folk chants and Air-Wreck wuz ...

George Jones: My Very Special Guests (Epic)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, February 1980

FOR OVER 30 years, George Jones has been country's greatest singer, universally admired by both country fans and performers alike in much the same way ...

The Knack: Get The Knack

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, October 1979

PREAMBLE: In these inflationary (and indifferent) times, one expects a great deal from the investment of his/her time and/or money. Consequently, I have designed this ...

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Street Survivors (MCA)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1978

SOUTHERN ROCK – whatta crock! Ya wanna know the truth bout whas hoppin' down in Carter Country? Not a goddamn friggin thing!! Everybody's mellowed into ...

The Seeds, Steve Miller: Steve Miller/Seeds Records

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, October 1977

The Steve Miller Band: Book Of Dreams (Capitol)The Seeds: Fallin’ Off The Edge (GNP Crescendo) ...

The Move: Split Ends

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1973

When the Move were smashing helicopters and burning telephone booths onstage, my heart was thumping to the beat of 'I Can Hear the Grass Grow', ...

Elliott Murphy: Just A Story From America (Columbia)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, June 1977

WHEN I FIRST put this record on the turntable, it spun and revolved just like any other vinyl tostada. The needle, just like always, ate ...

Olivia Newton John: Have You Never Been Mellow (MCA)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1975

WHAT FEMALE singer would ya like most to sit in yr lap? Connie Francis? (too old) Cher? (too bananas) Bette Midler? (stinks under the armpits ...

Pere Ubu: Datapanik In Year Zero (Radar)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, November 1978

THE DADA RAMPAGE of Breton and other jujube surrealists culminated in the craziness expressed in Alfred Jarry's Pere Ubu, prompting a whole generation of teens ...

Pere Ubu: The Art of Walking

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1981

THERE'S NO DENYING that it's becoming increasingly difficult to move: the simple act of Putting one foot in front of the other is now a ...

Pere Ubu: The World According To Pere Ubu

Interview by Robot A. Hull, Creem, November 1979

Look, look at the machine revolving,Look, look at the brain flying,Look, look at the Rentiers trembling!Hurrah, arse-horns, long live Pere Ubu!– Alfred Jarry, ‘The Song ...

The Pretty Things: Savage Eye

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1976

ANGLOID DROOLERS can breathe a sigh of relief (toot, toot). Although the twittering (sometimes hairy, often comical) falsettos of 10cc and Sparks are cracking under ...

The Psychedelic Furs: The Psychedelic Furs

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, December 1980

THE AFFINITY BETWEEN bands of the golden Age of Psychedelia and the current rash of art-progs is fairly obvious: both possess a nauseating need to ...

Public Image Ltd.: Public Image (Warner Bros.)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1979

NEVER MIND the Sex' Pistols, here's the rotting corpse of Johnny Rotten, stinking to high heaven like some maggot brain from the Bryan Ferry School ...

Suzi Quatro: Suzi Quatro

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1974

SUZI QUATRO is a real cutie, rootie tootie, not sweet hog honey like Linda Ronstadt but a tight roller derby queen with juice and enuf ...

The Raincoats: Odyshape

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, December 1981

PAT BENATAR? Sheena Easton? Judie Tzuke?! You'd think this was the Stone Age – it's as if feminism had never existed, as if women in ...

Lou Reed: Transformer

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, February 1973

Their faces drooping in disbelief, the fans shook their baffled, bewildered heads. "If we hadn't seen him with our own eyes we never would have ...

R.E.M.: Chronic Town

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1983

THIS EP IS SO ARCANE that I had to play it six times in a row to get a handle on it – and even ...

Smokey Robinson: Warm Thoughts

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, August 1980

"The fireside, the lamplight intimate and low, reverie with finger at the brow, and eyes that lose themselves in answering looks..."– Paul Verlaine, ‘La Bonne ...

Roxy Music: For Your Pleasure

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, September 1973

EVER SINCE the advent of rock 'n' roll there's always been a few tweety performers who would insist upon re-directing the primitive rhythmic spirit of ...

Roxy Music: Roxy Music (Warner Brothers)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1973

WHAT A BUNCHA kooky weirdo faggoids! What a pack of goofy, tasteless dingbats! What a buncha fucking showoffs! ...

The Runaways: The Runaways

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, August 1976

Don't let the teevee tube or the records being released fool you! Teenage America's spirit is not sagging (empty helium balloons surrounded by Paul McCartney ...

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band: Stranger In Town (Capitol)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, August 1978

Bob Seger grimaces as a blackmailer confronts him with videotapes of old Upbeat appearances ...

Shoes: Tongue Twister

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, April 1981

IT WAS IN 1977, The Year of the Anti-Christ, that Shoes released their official debut, Black Vinyl Shoes, on their own private label. In its ...

Steppenwolf: Slow Flux

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, December 1974

THE FIRST STEPPENWOLF album sounded great on cassette. Best part was on 'Sookie, Sookie' when John Kay told the chick to let it hang out ...

Sweet: Desolation Boulevard (Capitol)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, August 1975

BOY, IS IT INSPIRING to note any major metamorphosis in rock lately, mainly cuz every band and its mommy SOUNDS ALIKE (zombies snoring, that's what ...

Talking Heads: Fear of Music

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, November 1979

"Seems I was holding a wrench, mommaAnd then my mind just walked away."– Jack Kittel, ‘Psycho’ ...

Traffic: Shoot Out At the Fantasy Factory

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1973

They're playing it on the FM progressive stations. It's five o'clock in the morning, and some snoring deejay is claiming that Stevie Winwood really has ...

Uriah Heep: Live

Review by Robot A. Hull, Phonograph Record, June 1973

SEE THE FUNNY heavy metal group. For some time now they been on top of things; rock critics drooled in agreement that they'd become regular ...

Les Variations: Cafe De Paris (Buddah)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, June 1975

THE FRENCH ARE the coolest breed (that's a fact), even more cool than blacks or faggots. Rimbaud and Cocteau were no poopoos, fella. In fact, ...

Velvet Underground: White Light/Dark Shadows

Essay by Robot A. Hull, Creem, July 1981

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen. – T.S. Eliot, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ ...

Bunny Wailer: Bunny Wailer Sings The Wailers

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1981

THE PRODIGIOUS travesty of our time may be that rock bands rooted in reggae like the Clash or the Specials are more familiar to white ...

Rick Wakeman: Criminal Record (A&M)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1978

GAG!!!! NOW here's a useless bore that deserves to have his noggin bashed with a hockey stick until it's a gorgeous pool of pulpy gelatin. ...

West, Bruce & Laing: West Bruce & Laing: Why Dontcha (Columbia)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1973

LESLIE WEST is an obnoxious fatso; Jack Bruce was the worst of the three Creams (note his horrible songwriting and bass lead fill-ins) and made ...

Tony Joe White: The Train I'm On

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, July 1972

DOWNHOME MUSIC is where it's at. Clarence Carter. J.J. Cale. Tom T. Hall. Candi Staton. They all sound laid back to me and they are ...

Neil Young: Too Young To Rust Too Old To Die

Essay by Robot A. Hull, Creem, February 1981

In Oklahoma,Bonnie and Josie,Dressed in calico,Danced around a stump.They cried,"Ohoyaho,Ohoo"...the marriageCelebratingOf flesh and air. – Wallace Stevens, ‘Life Is Motion’He came dancing across the water ...

Frank Zappa: Zoot Allures (Warner Bros.)

Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, March 1977

Zappa and crew, contemplating a tap dance, a pose debonair. ‘Just smile, sugar.’ ...

List of genre pieces

The Sound and Vision of Psychedelia

Overview by Robot A. Hull, Creem, January 1981

"Okay. You've swallowed the magic cube, downed a cup of organic tea with filigree leaves, and placed the diamond needle on the appropriate sounds. Now ...

Yummy, Yummy, Chewy Chewy: A Bubblegum Yarn

Essay by Robot A. Hull, Creem, October 1979

"PERHAPS THE blight of the late '60s was 'bubblegum', music planned entirely as a product, not as anybody's art." – Charlie Gillett, The Sound Of ...

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