Friday, June 28, 2013

Newspapers Can Say Anything and Get Away With It

Tom Scholz has lost his case against a newspaper called The Boston Herald and two of the people who write for the paper. This is one of those times when I wish that someone had been able to hold a media outlet accountable for printing unsubstantiated allegations and outright lies.

In 2007, singer Brad Delp killed himself. Here's the story on that:
Boston singer Brad Delp installed a hidden camera in his fiancee’s sister’s bedroom – and killed himself nine days after he was caught. 
Evidence given in the court case between Boston mainman Tom Scholz and a newspaper revealed how Delp, who committed suicide in 2007, was ashamed and apologetic after his spy device was found. 
Events came to light as part of Scholz’s claim that the Boston Herald defamed him by suggesting he was to blame for his bandmate’s death. 
Delp was engaged to Pamela Sullivan while her sister Meg Sullivan lived in the singer’s house. His relationship with Meg was described as “platonic”.
But in February 2007 she discovered his battery-powered spy device when it fell from its hiding place. She confronted him about it then went to stay with her boyfriend.
Delp emailed her to apologise, saying: “I feel sick about this, and deservedly so.” He later added: “I want to try and make you understand that I consider myself a decent person who made a dreadful error in judgement. I acted out of some impulse that is still not completely fathomable to me.” 
But her boyfriend, Boston sound engineer Todd Winmill, ordered him to tell his fiancee what had happened. “He essentially apologised for half an hour,” said Winmill. “I told him he had to tell Pamela. He didn’t like the thought of having to do that.” 
Delp later took his own life by lighting two charcoal grills in his sealed bathroom, leading to his death by carbon monoxide poisoning. In one of four notes he wrote: “I have had bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide since I was a teenager.”
Now, remember. The Boston Herald printed a story in 2007 claiming that Tom Scholz was to blame for Delp's suicide. They claimed that Delp was "beaten down" because of his dealings with Scholz but you can clearly see in his suicide note that he had thought about killing himself for most of his life.

So, after all of this tragedy, when the real story came out, was the newspaper held accountable?

Hell no.

If that's not a travesty of justice, then what the hell is a travesty of justice anymore?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beady Eye to Play Secret Gig at Glastonbury

You can almost bet on a Beady Eye appearance at Glastonbury, and this violates another one of Liam Gallagher's promises. In 2004, Gallagher said he would never play Glastonbury again; in 2013, with an album to push, he's all but begging people to come see Beady Eye play in the middle of the day.

I hate to mock this band. I really like what Andy and Gem have had to offer, both before and after their stints in Oasis. But Liam Gallagher's descent into insecurity is insufferable to watch.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yes, Nickleback is Really That Bad

Nickleback is a lame band.

Throughout the music world, you cannot escape the perception of Nickleback as a band that is hated almost solely because of the inherent lameness of their music and the lack of anything that would change the minds of people who hold that position.

There are two parallels to this. You cannot change the impression that Foo Fighters are the anti-Nickleback even though there are times when people can't tell the difference. If you slice out bits of music, I would be willing to bet that there are people who couldn't tell them apart. And you cannot change the fact that people respect Radiohead as being a difficult, arty band. If you gave music fans a choice between verse-chorus-verse and crackle-snap-glasssy whoosh and then aw-uhh, what do you think they would choose, en masse?

Radiohead sell a lot of records, just like Nickleback, but do they get played? Or are they status symbols?

Magazines and critics can argue about who is cool and who is not cool all they want. When the fans of music reach a general consensus, there isn't much that will reverse that. In 1965, Herman's Hermits outsold the Beatles. If you were a working historian of popular culture, you might begin the academic argument that the popularity of the Beatles actually faded when they became experimental and that their appeal shifted considerably when they split up. What has elevated them above all others are fans who insist on doing so and the music publications who spent the 1970s and 1980s cementing their legacy.

Reality need not apply. You cannot prove someone and their band sucks; you have to rely on the unfair and unflattering perception that has been attacked to said person or band.

In and Out of the Band

The short answer is, 'now that these assholes are gone, everyone will do what I tell them.'

There is no "Nine Inch Nails." There's Trent Reznor, and then there are the people he hires to play with him. There is no significant difference between him and Billy Corgan. They're just trying to find people who aren't assholes who will help them make music.

This is not a bad thing, but let's dispense with the idea that these are bands. At this stage of the game, being over twenty years on for both artists, there is no point in hiding behind the facade that these are actual bands where people have to agree on the way forward or compromise with one another. If these were bands, the departure of two members would mean that the band cannot continue under the same name. In the case of the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy has either kicked out or driven out everyone and it is no longer a band. It's a brand name that helps him sell more of whatever he's selling.

To continue under a different name may seem artistically viable but it is, in reality, a difficult proposition for fans and artists alike. No matter how savvy people claim to be, they still don't know that Roger Waters was in Pink Floyd, and that if they go see Roger play live, he will play a lot of Pink Floyd songs.

Reznor and Corgan should just go out under their own name and their fans will know what they're going to get--Trent and Billy songs, played with backup players.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

That's the End of Beady Eye

How do you handle the thrill of playing sold-out tours and headlining festival shows and the best arenas in the world when it ends? How do you go from playing huge stadiums to 1,500 seat venues?

If you're Liam Gallagher, you handle it badly, of course.

Beady Eye will not survive the indignities being thrust upon it. At some point, Gem Archer and Andy Bell are going to leave because being a bit player in a band well below the likes of the Killers or Snow Patrol doesn't have the same appeal it had two years ago.

Liam's going to have to do a solo album next, and then maybe we'll get his version of Stop the Clocks.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Will Pixies Carry On or Call it a Day?

I would guess that the departure of Kim Deal centered around adding to their recorded output or how revenue was being shared from their never-ending reunion tours.

Deal's departure means that they can find a new bass player, record something, and watch as people illegally download their music. How this is going to make anyone money is a good question to put to whoever thinks this is going to work.

They will probably do something, and it'll happen, and people will continue to express their sense of indifference, and then we'll all realize that this matters to the core fan base of the band and not many people outside of that.

Bands have to find a way to survive, and the only way to do that is to break through and satisfy that small number of people who will still pay money for the music they receive. Without them, the numbers don't add up anymore. To ask "should they go on" is to ignore the existing economic destruction of the careers of people who used to make albums that would sell respectably. The money might be out there, but Pixies are just like everyone else--they have to figure out how to make it work and how to get along and how to deal with the outright theft of their intellectual property that continues.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Who Can Afford Led Zeppelin?

Sometime in the next two years, barring tragedy or a worldwide economic meltdown, Led Zeppelin will mount a very lucrative mini-tour of the world and attempt, once again, to shut people up. Despite the fact that they have reunited and played several times in two different incarnations--why people don't view No Quarter and Walking Into Clarksdale as Led Zeppelin reunion albums is confusing--the world simply cannot live without a reunion.

This is the fat cat tour, and there will be few, if any, "fans" at these shows. There will be a lot of rich people who want to be able to say that they saw Led Zeppelin; tickets for these shows will run wild. Never mind that, in the 1970s, these people never bothered to go see the band and preferred the Electric Light Orchestra or Three Dog Night or Foghat instead.

If you can be charged over $400 to see Rush, I would imagine that you can expect to pay $1,000 or more to see Led Zeppelin.

How does that square with the economics of a festival like Download? Are they going to charge everyone that much? If not, how are they going to afford a reunited tour of the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin?

Monday, June 10, 2013

What's a Record Company?

Black Sabbath take us back to the days when there actually were record companies and when an artist could "piss them off" and thumb their nose at the business.

Bear in mind, this is an old rock band, operating under the assumption that there even still is a music business, releasing an album that they hope won't be downloaded for free en masse by a public that just wants to hear the old hits.

It almost makes me nostalgic for a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This is an Interesting Way to Promote a New Album

Liam Gallagher is still operating under the impression that he was an "equal" in Oasis to his brother. In point of fact, Oasis was a band that did not operate with everyone being an "equal" and Noel Gallagher made all of the critical decisions and controlled what went on the albums. He may not have cared about who did interviews, but the music was his responsibility. He allowed the others to contribute songs, and that allowed him to preserve some of the peace in the band. Liam was the one who usually broke the peace, and this would happen whenever Noel provoked him. Theirs is the most intense sibling rivalry of the last 25 years in rock music, more intense than the Reid brothers in the Jesus and Mary Chain but just as destructive.

For Liam to move on, he has to stop obsessing over Oasis. He has to let it go. Unfortunately, he is still under the impression that Noel will put up with him and I don't think he will anymore.Noel has enough money and he isn't going to stand on a stage with the three original members of Oasis not named Gallagher because he, rightly, believes that that ship has sailed.

For some reason, being in a band with Andy Bell and Gem Archer does not make him happy. For some reason, being Liam Gallagher isn't enough. It should be, but it isn't and we're going to be treated to this continuous public meltdown for months and years to come.