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A Guide to Jargon in Rock Music


with Professor Von Stuffelheim,

of the Berlin School of Music and Language


…………Now you haff learnt zum basic 'Rockney' words und phrases vee can now move on to more advanced sentences zat may come in useful ven conversing mit people in ze Rockworld.

Section 1

Und here to help me is der Dwayne Kimpbell, famous for ze 'Dwayne's Vorld' movies.

Dwayne: "Most Excellent"

Prof: "Zat is a goot start, but let us recap vot vee know so far. If you want to say "Hello", you say "Yo! Dude", "Hi, Bro!" or "What's happenin' Man!"

Dwayne: "That's right, and a polite reply is normally, "Cool!", but remember the correct pronunciation is "Kuuuhhhlll".


Section 2

Prof: "Very good, or "Most excellent!" as vun vould say.

But vot if you wanted to say in Eenglish the phrase

"My album sales are very disappointing"

Well in Rockney zer are two alternatives, you could say

"The malls didn't dig the big girls on the album cover" ….but just as appropriate is....

"Hey! Ma record company dissed me on the promo, Bro"

Dwayne: On a similar theme if you hear the expression

"This is our best album yet, it's bitchin" in English this means

"This is our umpteenth mediocre album"

You may also hear:

"Absolutely our definitive Greatest Hits album" which translates as

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"It's the same as the last 4 or 5 we've brought out"

Prof: Und in modern parlance mit ze wide availability of music on ze internet, you may hear:

"Them illegal downloads hurt, like… ah…the whole industry Man, ya know?", meaning..

"I'm losing serious money here, I might have to sell one of my mansions"

But the subject of album sales isn't necessarily negative. For instance:

"We're just so totally proud to perform at this awesome charity gig , Dude" often means:

"Wow!!, we'll sell truckloads of albums on the back of this"

Prof: Zat iss the end of disc one, now yoo can listen to Disc Two.......

(photo courtesy of billaday)

(photo courtesy of billaday)


Section 3

Prof: Welcome to disc two, und veee ver discussing zer gigs und ze speech inherent in zis activity

Dwayne: Far out Dude, and of course the 'Gig' is a favourite pastime of the Rockers and you might find it helpful to become familiar with the lingo at these social occasions, for example:

........"Lemme hear you guys make sum noise!!"........

(meaning) "Jeez!, what a bunch of stiffs!"

......."Sing this one with me!!"............

(meaning) "I'm too old to hit the high notes"

............"JJ's gonna play sumthin special on the drums for ya!!"............

.(meaning) "Thank God!!, I'm dying for a pee"

.........."Maybe we should do a live album here"..........

(meaning) "We'll probably do The Budokan instead"

............"I dunno why we ain't never played England before"...........

.(meaning) "You Limeys wouldn't buy our records"

And finally

......."I love this city!!"...........

(meaning) "Where are we??"

Prof: If I can interject fur a moment, note ze confushun between ze proper nouns 'England' und 'Great Britain', zis is a common grammatical conflation particular to 'American Rockney'.

Und ze Rockstars may also say:

"I am far out enjoying the more intimate venues now, Man" which means......

"Hell!!, we're losing a fortune on this tour" ,

Und referring to their musicianship the assertion:

"Ya know, We gotta almost a telepathic understandin' on stage, Man" means.....

"We're sick of playing the same old garbage night after night"

They may also say:

"He's the master of basic rhythm guitar", in other words......

"He can't play very well"


Section 4

Dwayne: Many Rockers will talk about their influences and love of Rock music. Listen to this excerpt:

"Rock n' Roll is in ma blood Man it's in ma soul, Ah was born for it, I played guitar for hours on end when I was a kid, ya know, until my fingers hurt real bad, there ain't nuthin else I wanna do??"

This is a long statement which in English simply means

"I couldn't hold down a real job"

Also a common expression is:

....."Yeah Dude, I love early Sabs, Zep, Purple and Free, they really influenced me".....

(meaning) "Actually, I would prefer playing Acid Jazz and Reggae, but they ain't got no market"

Back to the subject of albums again, you might often hear:

......."We brought in a coupla songwriters to kinda polish off our songs"........

(meaning) "We can't write no more!"

........"We always wanted to do an album of cover versions"...........

(meaning) "We can't write no more!"

Prof: But sadly, Rock und Roll has its tragic casualties und all too often vee hear off ze negative side of ze music business. Listen to this poor unfortunate:

"I couldn't handle the pressure no more Man, an' with all the stress of touring ma health weren't doin' too good. I got really ill an' couldn't cope no more. I was mentally and physically exhausted, it was sheer overwork"

This translates into Eenglish as:

"I was totally off my head on smack most of the time"


Und zis can lead to many problems:

......."Artistically and creatively, I'd gone as far as I could with the band".........

(meaning) "I hate their guts"

But many problems can haff ze 'appy ending:

.........."It's good to be back singing with the band after all these years"...........

(meaning) "My solo career is down the toilet"

Zo!! Zat is the end of zis disc, keep playing it back und rehearsing ze words und phrases until you haff learnt zem all.

Wayne: Jawohl dude!

More Lessons from Prof von Stuffelheim


Shinkicker (author) from Scotland on June 24, 2013:

Thanks or reading Lurana ad leaving a comment. I don't know if there are any SMA's in there but certainly lots of SMBS :-)


MrsBrownsParlour on June 24, 2013:

Ha! Funny piece with excellent translations. :-) ~Lurana

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