Archive for music

R.I.P. Gerry Rafferty

Posted in music, news, obituaries, opinion, pop culture, r.i.p., stars with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by seehoweasy

The first time I heard “Baker Street,” I was in my Aunt and Uncle’s RV with them and my cousins and some of their friends. The lot of us were going to the desert to ride ATCs. Being an 8 year old tremendously moved by music had an endless bouquet of advantages in 1979, and Gerry Rafferty’s constant airplay was just another one of them. Ensconced in all the music American society now deems “classic rock”, songs like “Right Down The Line” and “Baker Street” chilled me to my bones in the best of ways. Melodic and downright inventive in ways pop or rock or whatever you choose to call it rarely is these days. I have grown up to become a musician myself, and have found success that is beyond my mother’s wildest dreams. Being a songwriter, I have come to learn that what Gerry Rafferty accomplished is one of the rarest things in life; to have even one song become a part of American culture is almost impossible, but to have, arguably, two or three, and have them being original works with artistic integrity, well, that is something musicians/music fans like myself consider to be a jackpot of all kinds of sorts that is difficult to wrap one’s brain around. (A quick note to anyone unmoved by his body of work from a creative perspective, as I am sadly and frustratingly aware of the fact that he was not considered as “cool” or “important” by the media or the masses at the time of his passing as I find him to be: he made over $100,000 a year, up until he left us, from the royalties of “Baker Street” alone.) In my twenties, I was the chief songwriter in a rock group, and I studied his songs, finding them to be compositions and not just songs, works of art and not merely forced creations with which to make money and please (the countless and revolting) rattlesnakes in the music industry. His songs inspired me to try and do something as good, and his career was something of a template for what I wanted my band to accomplish. (His songs are currently playing in grocery stores and casinos as I write, so who really cares how “cool” or “important” anyone says he is on Facebook or Myspace?) I later learned that he had fronted Stealer’s Wheel and had success there too with “Stuck In The Middle With You.”

 

I bought his solo efforts, City To City and Night Owl, and the former became one of my favorite records of all-time. The entire album is fantastic, and songs like “Whatever’s Written In Your Heart” and “City To City” are so instantly likable, I am still surprised they are not widely-known. Anyway, he passed away yesterday. He has been out of the public eye for ages, but no one has ever replaced him. I am far from ashamed to admit that I have been listening to his songs all morning and crying my eyes out.

Parenthetically, I had the great honor of meeting Walter Becker a few years ago. (Becker and Donald Fagen had wanted Rafferty to be the vocalist for their new band, Steely Dan, way back in 1971.) I got to tell Mr. Becker what his music meant to me. I tried to, anyway. It was impossible to actually do, but what I said had reached him and it gives me a lot of peace to know I told him. I never did run into Gerry Rafferty, so I have posted this blog instead, and I will pretend I ran into him on the street: “Thank you, Gerry. You don’t see it on Entertainment Tonight or anything, but what you have done is important, and it really matters.” Rest In Peace.

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Kissing Like It’s Love by The Voyces

Posted in facial hair, funny, music, music video, pop culture, sluts with tags , , , on June 15, 2010 by seehoweasy

Grammys 2009: A Detailed Analysis On Why They Sucked

Posted in crime, lindsay lohan, music, news, odors, opinion, politics, pop culture, sluts, stars, total bullshit with tags , on March 4, 2009 by seehoweasy

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I have been meaning to blog about the catastrophe that was the 2009 Grammy Awards since the morning after they aired.  I had a bunch of notes and everything.  I had decided that, since I could not move myself to blog for a couple of following weeks, I would never get around to it.   But it has been nagging at my soul, because music is my favorite thing in all of life, so here goes:

First, some back-story.  I have been watching the Grammys since I was nine years old. To put that into focus, Christopher Cross cleaned up.  Even when rock music started to lift itself onto a gurney, and hook itself up to an i.v. in about 1987-88, I continued to make my watching these awards an annual event.  By the early 90’s, it was commonplace for me to watch them alone and with guilt.  Everyone in my life panned even the concept of watching.  And most of the people in my life have always been artists and musicians.

Me: “Are you gonna watch the Grammys?”

Someone: Why?”

Someone else: “Fuck no.”

I was used to it.  And I couldn’t blame them for reacting that way. The show has ALWAYS mostly sucked.  I have always known this going in. I watch for two primary reasons: First, it is to be awestruck by the possible attendance of any “gods” or “goddesses” in the world of music.  Even if he or she is simply sitting in the crowd, it excites me to see them.

“Rewind! They just showed Prince!”

Or…

“That was Paul Simon!”

Or…

“Holy Shit! Dave Brubeck!”

Or…

“Aretha Franklin!”

Or…

“JIMMY PAGE!!!! Are you KIDDING ME?”

Stuff like that.

The second reason I watch is so I can deride the hacks.  Man, that is fun when you are watching with other people. (I notice that males like to put down musicians and females like to make fun of others weight.)

Me: “Does Billy Corgan ever write melodies?”

A guy: “Who?”

Another guy: “Exactly”

A girl: “His date is fat.”

Although there has been, in my opinion, no legitimate musical “happening” since Amy Winehouse (before that, Outkast), this year I put out a tray of snacks and tuned  into CBS with bated breath.

Again, I do not have my notes, but I will go by memory as best I can.

U2 opened the show.  (I am not a fan exactly, but I think “Stuck In A Moment”, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, “New Years Day”, and a couple of others warrant their entire career. )

It was fucking terrible. Way less there than meets the eye. Big lights. A lot of jumping around. It seemed very loud. But I could not find an actual tune of any kind. I muted the TV.  One minute into the 2009 Grammy Awards, and I am muting the TV. Yikes.

And I am well aware of all the pro-U2 arguments.  Shove ’em.  U2 was awful.

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Next up was Carrie Underwood.  I guess she played a Country song. It sounded like Rock and Roll to me, and sadly, it was a highlight of the night. Her guitarist was great. She flirted with an actual melody. It sucked, but compared to most of what followed, it was a highlight. Jesus, that is sad to write.  Parenthetically, my father has more stage presence than Bible-toting Carrie. And the last time I saw eyes that vacuous, I was talking to a teller at my post office here in New York.

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Oh yeah, sometime pretty early on, Whitney Houston came out.  But is was not to sing some new masterpiece.  She looked healthy. (Coughing loudly.)

Al Green sang a song from 1972.  Nailed it! (Coughing even louder.)

See, I need my notes. I forget the order. Ah well…

At some point The Jonas Brothers played.  They are The Bay City Rollers of the day, and I oddly have no problem with them.  Cringing as I write…another highlight.

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At least they flirted with a melody.

Oh yeah, and they wheeled Stevie Wonder out so he could try and class things up. He played a song (with The Brothers Jonas) from 1971.

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Then there was Coldplay.  I can’t get a Coldplay fan to hum me one of their songs. Watching them win an award is bewildering and agonizing.  Watching them try to “bond” with Paul McCartney was funny.  Yeah, aside from the Sgt. Pepper-ish suits, you guys have nothing in common with any former Beatle.

Some people swear by this band. I don’t know. When they won, it marked the first time during the ceremony that I started thinking that the whole thing is “fixed” and political.

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At some point Justin Timberlake came out and sang in the right key.

Warning: I am about to dis the beloved Radiohead.

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I know that their fans and the band could care less about my opinion, but here it is anyway.  Just because a group does not write songs in a traditional mold, it does not automatically mean they are geniuses.  It just doesn’t.  Sorry.  Like Coldplay, I can’t even get one of Radiohead’s own fans to hum me a tune.  I can’t help it, this bothers me.

Suffice to say, I watched these ceremonies with a Radiohead fan, and they too thought this was dogshit.

Fleetwood Mac used the USC marching band on “Tusk” in the 1980 recording, and on stage during 1997’s “The Dance.”  The difference there was that all of the hoopla created by the drummers, etc., transpired over an actual song; the horns had a melody to play.

So, summing up about Radiohead: BOOOOOOOOOOO!

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At some point, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss sang a song that everyone was jizzing over.  To me, it was just okay.  But I won’t say anything bad about Plant. He is WAY too cool and real to be there at all, I kept thinking.

Adele was the genuine highlight of the night.  Hers was, far and away, the best song I heard. adele-431x500

So of course, she was not allowed to play the whole thing. And her song did not win.

Her loss caused me to start to watch with one eye.

With one eye, I saw Jay-Z making shit up as he went along.

I saw Paul McCartney sing a song he wrote in 1963.

I saw some Smokey Robinson casino-style revue of songs even older.

I saw movie stars announce awards, because they could not find enough musicians who wanted to attend.

I left the TV on mute for about the last hour or so.

I was busy having a conversation about how “this is what happens when the wrong people start running the music industry.”

Me: “The worst Grammys ever.”

A guy: “Totally.”

A girl: Gweneth looked gaunt.”

Next morning, I see that the ratings were up from last year. That was when I threw out my notes.

Entertainment Weekly’s “The New Classics” issue filled with total fucking bullshit

Posted in Blogroll, music, news, opinion, politics, pop culture, sluts, stars, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 21, 2008 by seehoweasy

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (6/27/08-7/4/08) there is a list of “The New Classics” for just about every form of popular entertainment. I got it in my mailbox today and skimmed through it immediately.  I accidentally went right to the Stage section and got nervous.  I hate Broadway shows, as a general rule, and do not claim to know shit about them. However, I know enough to know that the schmaltzy “Jersey Boys” is no classic. (My wife saw it and gave me a full report: it was “cute”; she loves that Broadway crap.)

When it comes to music, I become easily offended when people (like the just-out-of-college-dumbfucks at EW Magazine) carelessly toss around the word “classic.”

Prince’s “Purple Rain” is listed at #1. I would not put it there, but I get it. Great album. It has stood the test of time. It was part of popular culture, and it can be argued that it still is. After that, the list of “New Classics” is a bucket of self-conscious  horse-shit.

Liz Phair’s “Exile In Guyville” is #47 and Peter Gabriel’s “So” is #88. Whether you hate Peter Gabriel or you love Peter Gabriel, you know at least four of the songs on “So.” Liz Phair? Does anyone really even listen to her? I mean, I know people do. But where are they? I have yet to meet one person in my life who swears by her music. A classic? Wouldn’t a music fan like myself have to have heard at least one song from her supposed opus? Is it because I am not a lesbian or something?

Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” (2004) is number 4????? I mean, lol.

“You Are Free” by Cat Power is #13??????????????  Isn’t it a little early to tell? Does anyone who DOES NOT want to fuck her like her music? Know her music? Do the people that WANT to fuck her like her music? Know that she is a musician?

Speaking of which….

“Tidal” by Fiona Apple???? #20????  LMAO

CLASSIC????? Does anyone know three songs from that one? LMAOOOOOOOOO

Interpol???? Why???  Really? LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Starbucks: Finally, A Big Company Helps “The Little Guy.”

Posted in Blogroll, crime, food, lindsay lohan, music, opinion, politics, pop culture, sluts, stars, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2007 by seehoweasy

It is not often that a powerful institution comes along and wields its all-mighty sword with the sole aim of helping the bureaucratically-challenged. But thank God for Starbucks. With their new record label (HearMusic) in full swing, underground musicians will finally get the press and recognition they deserve.

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Since Starbucks first created the HearMusic program, which, along with its own station on XM radio, was conceived as a kind of “launching pad” for unknown artists, the music business has gained in every respect. “The business had become corroded by red tape of all kinds,” spouted one insider, “but Starbucks is all about the underdog. When it comes to selling music, money is not our motive.”

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It is so difficult for up-and-coming music artists to get themselves heard that Starbucks is like an answered prayer for any would-be musician. The big record labels are all about the bottom line. Not so when it comes to the trailblazers at Starbucks. The last time I was there, I was reminded about bands and artists I had almost entirely forgotten about, due to the helpful display cases that surrounded the sandwiches! Ella Fitzgerald? The Dave Matthews Band? Sheryl Crow? THERE they are!

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It is so cool that, also, if you break up the name of the store it says Star bucks!

So cool!

UPDATE: 2/10/11 — They are shutting down their music label.

Poll: Old Bands Simply “Way Cooler” Than Newer Groups

Posted in led zeppelin, music, news, opinion, politics, pop culture, sluts, stars, steely dan with tags , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2007 by seehoweasy

(NRB Study) Maybe we can blame it on the fact that new technology has made it simpler than ever before for new artists to create and release albums. Or perhaps the fault can be placed squarely on the “Generation C” problem. (Generation C stands for Generation Condoms; These days, most young people have never had sex without condoms and, therefore, just don’t feel anything in life anymore. This, obviously, carries over into art and music and everything slowly starts sucking more and more.)

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In the old days, music was just better. This is according to a new NRB poll. Of the people between the ages of 15 and 36 asked to compare new music to older music, a whopping seventy-five percent of them favored the music of the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s.

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“People had better sex back then,” explained one participant.

“This really shows. Just listen to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. You can almost smell the sheets.”

The other explanation for most new bands sucking shit has to do with “how easy it is for bands like Air” to record in the first place, chirped another of those polled before he went on to explain you can tell all of this from pictures of the bands alone. “Just look at the artists of yesterday and today. No aural test is necessary.”

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Having taken these words to heart, as part of our study we showed the participants a photograph of Air (above) and asked them to compare it with a picture of Steely Dan (below).

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Steely Dan was the winner by knockout. Someone asked if the guys in the first photograph were still virgins. When asked to elaborate, the group said, basically in unison, that the guys in Steely Dan were “just way cooler.”