Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jack White

No one writes the things I want to hear about Jack White:

We're starting to think Jack White doesn't fully grasp the internet. It's not that he doesn't know how to use it to communicate with fans, bring them high-end streaming music with Tidal, sell albums and tickets through various outlets, etc. It's just that things like Third Man Records' lengthy rant against it, "JACK WHITE CLICK BAIT BINGO EXHAUSTION," seems to show a lack of understanding that when a famous person says something interesting or borderline controversial, fans are going to react and writers are going to post about it, sometimes fairly and sometimes not. His high standards for internet discourse and journalism are admirable, but still unrealistic. And call us skeptical, but with Jack's penchant for toying with people pretty evident at this point, we have to wonder how often he loves steering into the skid and saying something sarcastic or, at least, scowling his way through a Cubs game so people will take pictures of him. With that in mind, here's a rundown of White's many run-ins with the internet, whether he's hating on Twitter, getting his private divorce emails and tour-rider guacamole recipe leaked, or penning open letters clarifying offhand comments he made to fans and journalists. It's almost like a little history of how we all had to learn to deal with the rise of online journalism and social media, and all the pitfalls that come with it.

If that para doesn't tire you out, I have a few that will.

First, The White Stripes weren't a band. It was him and her and they played and everything was meticulously documented. If you don't think that those tapes aren't going to continue to trickle out for the next forty years, you're crazy. Everything White has done is leading to the tour where he and her get back together and sell lots of tickets and play. If it happens, good for them. The cash will roll in and there will be more tapes, more releases, and more vinyl. This is how people who were in bands make a living now. They can only make money if they pretend they don't want to play with one another. I never read enough about the bullshit behind driving up the price it will take for a band to reform.

Second, the guy speaks in an unguarded fashion with people as if he trusts them. There are quite a few people willing to abuse that trust in order to have a moment of glory for themselves. For whatever reason, these shitheads have attached themselves to White's music and they fall all over themselves showing people a very douchey side of White. Whenever an artist becomes genuine, someone will always sell the tape for a buck. They got this terrible economy going on and that's what people do. I can't read too many stories about the douchey side of pick your favorite artist.

Third, the guy just wants to make music and get paid. No one has done more to personify how messed up that situation is in the world right now. He's struggling to figure out how to release music in a format people want to hear in a way that will compel them to pay the right amount for it. If there was any justice in the world, we'd give him a pardon for scowling and let him figure out how to make it all work. I definitely don't hear too many other people complaining about this nonsense.

We're the jerks, of course. We're the jerks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Paul Simon is, in Fact, a Monster

Art Garfunkel is still upset about something Paul Simon did forty or fifty years ago. This should not normally be news, nor should it be a shock to anyone that he believes that Paul Simon is a terrible human being. He has an ax that needs grinding, and, brother, Art is not going to let it go.

I've been telling people that the real Paul Simon walks around with a suitcase full of money, a bottle of rye whiskey, and a street sweeper shotgun stuffed down his pants. There are skulls on his dashboard. He drives around in an old Cadillac he stole from Lead Belly. He eats veal and screams at waiters. He adopts rescue kittens and then gives them to people who de-claw their cats. He dated, loved, and then was mean to Taylor Swift once. He plays music for cash money on the barrel head. He rolls into town, slips into arcades and flophouses, and leaves with more cash than he arrived with.  He has fathered 11,000 children. He has beaten up everyone in every band there ever was and he made Sting cry. He's the greatest monster in all of human history and you can call him Al if you want, but he'll shoot you down and impregnate your womenfolk. 

He's the Conan the Barbarian of the soft rock crowd, and when he comes to your town, prepare for many, many lamentations.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


There's plenty to be sad about when you talk about Amy Winehouse:

One of the odder byproducts of recent biographical documentaries, which, to a certain extent, have become a classier form of tabloid journalism, is the propensity of media mavens to mine them for so-called “secrets” or “revelations.”It almost makes one wonder if it would be better for documentarians to close up shop and merely generate listicles detailing what they’ve learned from researching their subjects.

Still, inquiring minds want to know about the celebrities we either love or love to loathe and Asif Kapadia’s Amy, a new film profile of the late, great British pop singer Amy Winehouse that premiered at a midnight screening at Cannes, doesn’t stint on tidbits that will appeal to those of us who consider the Daily Mail a guilty pleasure. Nevertheless, despite the litany of gossipy reveals regurgitated online, Kapadia’s biggest achievement lies in creating considerable empathy for a woman who had become, by the end of her life, the cruel butt of jokes told by smirking late-night comics (the film includes some cringe-worthy footage of Jay Leno making vile cracks about the troubled singer’s problems with substance abuse.)

Self-destructive people who make art are always going to be of interest to the public, but Winehouse took it as far as anyone could without ending up like Pete Doherty or Robert Downey Jr.

She left this Earth in full possession of her art and no amount of exploitation will erase what she accomplished in a few short years. She was steeped in music, knowledgeable about obscure jazz and whatever else was relevant to her, and now we're stuck with the imitators and the dribble of commercially appealing do-overs put out by Mitchell Winehouse.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


The reformation of Oasis is a hot topic nowhere but Britain right now, so let's sort out a few things.

Noel Gallagher just released a killer album. It is already a commercial and artistic success. Even Paul Weller likes it. So, Noel is now able to work one year and take three years off between projects. Why would he give that up?

Oasis does not exist anymore, and it won't exist if Liam Gallagher finds two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer. He shares a management company with Noel and so there are commercial reasons to reform Oasis. There may be, in fact, an agreement to do so in conjunction with a significant touring offer.

But, why? They haven't been gone long enough. And all of the power is in the hands of Noel, not Liam, because there's no reunion if one of them decides against it. Oasis is a two man outfit with a cast of rotating characters. People are going to pay to see them whether or not Bonehead is on stage with them or not; they are not going to go back to the 1995 lineup and bring back McGuigan and White so why bother wondering which configuration is the "real" band. Good luck with your bet on Tony McCarroll coming back into the fold.

If someone puts a ridiculous amount of money on the table, like they did with the Stone Roses, then the Gallaghers will play together as Oasis. They can bring back Gem Archer and Andy Bell, but that's not as likely as folding Liam in with the High Flying Birds band that is already successfully touring and playing Oasis songs. 

But, again, why would Noel do that when he could take the next three years off and come back and put out an album and do another mini-tour and not have to deal with any of the headaches? He has complained about having to finance himself--that's legitimate. No one should have to. But why would he tempt fate?

If you think people are willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money to see Oasis now, wait five years and see what they'll pay then.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Church On Tour

The Church are touring Australia in July and who wouldn't want to go? They're playing the classic album The Blurred Crusade in full and then they're focusing on their incredible new album, Further Deeper.

Consider this a blatant plug for something fantastic.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Do Not Play Malaysia

I get that you should always be mindful of other cultures. I get that there are compromises that an artist has to make to reach people in countries that have a more conservative outlook on things, especially around gyrating, crotch-grabbing, and plain old sexy time while the pre-recorded backing tracks play over the sound system.

These are ludicrous demands, by the way:

1. Guys and girls should be segregated on opposite sides of the concert hall.

2. The stage should be segregated too. Female singers shouldn’t perform with male back-up dancers.

3. Performers without “noble personalities” should be banned from performing.

4. No singers with criminal records.

5. Female performers can’t expose their “awrah,” the parts of the body that must be publicly concealed under some interpretations of Islamic law. Under Malaysia’s most common interpretation, this would likely mean wearing a hijab and loose fitting clothes.

6. No jokes that cause “excessive laughter.”

7. No cross dressing.

8. No dancing that provokes lust.

This is not really about some scolds in Malaysia. This is about touring anywhere and everywhere in order to make a buck. If you have an act, put it out there. If there are places that are too conservative for what you do, don't go there. Leave that money on the table for once.

It is up to the people of Malaysia to fix their society if that's what they want. I don't know if there will be Katy Perry revolutions all through the fundamentalist regions of the world, but why not?

Monday, May 4, 2015

No Reason For the Who to Play

Pete Townshend is never going to lie to you about what he feels about his old band. If you read what he's had to say since the 1980s, The Who were over long before they called it quits and he cannot be bothered. He has gracefully played with the band numerous times since folding in 1982 and this was done to keep the others (and probably himself) in financial comfort.

If he's telling you he isn't enjoying what he's doing, he's doing that for a good reason--you lot are sucking the blood out of the man. You're leeches, trying to find one last moment of clarity before the glory days of music disappear forever. No one cares about the new stuff--good God. It's all about the nostalgia. How do you put air in those tires one more time? How do you punch the air in time with the band's eighth road drummer? How do you get excited buying that reissued and remastered live album they've sold to you six times already?

No idea. But if you gave me tickets to go see The Who, I would hand them back to you. No thanks. I missed them when they mattered and I missed them when they were good. I'm not going back down that old road again, and even Pete knows it's all a charade.

More cash, please. And the suckers lined up at the door think they're getting the real thing. Good luck with that. Maybe the enhanced drugs of today can blot out the smell of panic and failure emanating from whoever they hired to run the lighting rig.