So I was minding my own business, looking online for a larger or better version of this promo photo of Boom Shaka:
There are a lot of great sitcoms on TV these days. Or rather, that thing that TV is morphing into, however you watch it. FX or FXX (or FXXX?) is home to many of them, including a really fast, funny, utterly absurd thing called, “You’re The Worst.”
When, exactly, did the memo go out to every young female singer instructing them that from now on they would all play ukuleles and sing like children choking back sobs?
You may as well tell me, because I know that a memo went out, that a rule was established somewhere. It had to be. This isn’t natural. This epidemic of cutesy-pie little girl voices that’s threatening to drown us all in a sea of swallowed words. You can’t escape it. It’s becoming impossible to find a young female indie-type singer who doesn’t sound like an infant on the verge of tears.
Have you checked out the podcast recently? Yes, it’s still a thing, and it’s still going strong. Do your ears a favor and luxuriate in the wonders of my voice. Or something. It’s like a blog, only not.
Oh look, he’s back.
It’s been a few months, for those of you who didn’t realize I was gone.
You’re probably thinking I ran out of things to say, but that’s not it. I have a few posts here that I’ve written but haven’t published. So my absence wasn’t due to a lack of ideas.
No, what’s been occupying my time is I’ve been planning a podcast!
My hair is long, as it often tends to be, and lately I’ve been letting my beard grow. It’s been doing its own thing for almost five months, so it’s about as long as it’s ever been. Unlike (some of) the hair on my head, the beard is almost all white. I wear jeans every day, and usually a t-shirt, sometimes a shirt that buttons up, if there’s a meeting or I want to look like what passes as professional in my business. That doesn’t take much.
You probably know a guitar player. They are everywhere, like ants or citrus fungus. You can’t stretch your legs without kicking a guitar player. If that guitar player plays an electric guitar, odds are they have at least one effects pedal (and if they have one they probably have half a dozen). Guitarists call these effects stomp boxes, because they sit on the floor and you, well, stomp on them to turn them on and off.
There was a purist school of thought in rock and roll in the 70s that said, no synthesizers! In fact, I think Queen even printed that on the back of their albums: No synthesizers!
But the fact is, musicians love new technology and are always looking for ways to change the sound their instruments make. There isn’t much difference between holding the rubber end of a toilet plunger over the end of your trumpet and sticking a whammy bar on your Stratocaster.
It occurred to me this morning how to solve all the problems in the Middle East.
People are angry over there, as you know. They blow themselves up, hack body parts off each other, drive jet airliners into buildings and generally shuffle around in an angry, aimless cloud of perpetual dust and confusion. They are surly, mean and fearless, and you don’t want to cross them on a good day, let alone when they haven’t had whatever narcotic they favor in a few days. It’s a brutal scene, and I think I know why.
Michael Jackson has dropped dead.
I did learn something from Jackson – no, not how to moonwalk – but rather this very important lesson: if you call yourself something, everyone will eventually quote it as fact. In Jackson’s case, it was the laughable and grandiose “King of Pop” title. One day his management started telling journalists to refer to him that way, and they did. Now in news stories of his death you read things like, “Known as the King of Pop…”
Sony Music, Warner, EMI, Columbia Pictures, et al continue their assault on the Pirate Bay in particular and file sharing in general with a short-sightedness that is awe inspiring. They are obviously confused and frightened, clinging to their 20th century model of thievery and exploitation while the world shifts beneath their feet. I know they can’t see the changes because they are too busy looking to the sky for the falling pennies, but you would think that they could feel it.
“Yeah, I know we’re supposed to be…I know the human race is supposed to get down on its knees in front of all this new technology and kiss the microchip’s circuits. It don’t impress me all that much.
When there ain’t nothing but “You make! You buy! You die!” That’s the motto of America! You get born to buy it!
I love the music of Bob Marley and The Wailers. A lot of people do. But the reggae music of the mid to late 1970s actually changed my life, as it knocked me off the musical axis I was spinning on and shot me into an entirely new direction (and 2000 miles across the country). But yes, it would seem that everyone loves Bob Marley. Soul rebel, natural mystic.
Lately I have been listening to The Wailers music from a period that I had previously neglected, the late 1960s/early 1970s – pre-Island Records. There are literally hundreds of tracks recorded during this period, and many songs that became well known later in The Wailers career were first recorded during this time.
I wasn’t going to write anything about the death of Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, because it seems like a million articles have popped up on line since his death, written by the millions of people who loved him and loved the Stooges. Maybe the internet made the Stooges famous, because 30 years ago you couldn’t give a Stooges record away (they made their first record 40 years ago, in 1969).
But I digress. I have been thinking a lot about Asheton in the past couple of weeks because I’ve been listening to the ridiculous, excessive, riveting and at times downright spine-tingling seven disc box set of The Complete 1970 Funhouse Sessions.
I was having a beer with some young chaps from work the other night, and the Clash song “Rudie Can’t Fail” came on the jukebox. I said, “Ah, London Calling, the greatest rock and roll album ever made,” and one of the guys I was with whipped out his combination phone/computer/teleportation device and typed in “London Calling,” and said, “Got it!”
I didn’t think anything of it, but the next day he had the album on his iPod and was listening to it. A couple of days later he came in to my office and said, “So why is London Calling the greatest rock and roll album of all time?”