Showing posts with label Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ideas. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

David Byrne is Not Racist

I am not a huge fan of what David Byrne did to Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth when they were in Talking Heads. I am pretty sure that I fall on Chris and Tina's side of things when it comes to how they experienced David's unique form of human interaction.

However, I will defend David from any charge that he is racist. I'll take up that cause any day of the week. 
Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has apologized for wearing black and brownface in an unearthed promotional video, calling it a "major mistake in judgement."
In the clip for the rock band's concert film 1984 "Stop Making Sense," the star is shown interviewing himself, while donning black and brown face to impersonate several non-White people.
The 68-year-old musician took to social media on Tuesday to express his regret after the vintage clip resurfaced online.
"To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brownface, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgment that showed a lack of real understanding," he wrote in series of posts shared on his Twitter page.

"It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else -- you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were."
Virtually every attempt to wear black or brown face is reprehensible and ignorant, and so I commend him for apologizing. In the context of Stop Making Sense, this was an inclusive set of songs that traversed multiple genres of music, much of it steeped in other cultures. You could criticize them for appropriating those cultures, but you'd be wrong. Talking Heads brought people onto the stage with them that would normally have been excluded.

I think what David was going for was a more inclusive, shared experience that was meant to bring people together to enjoy things they would not otherwise have been exposed to. We know from Chris's book that the band added musicians so that they could bring in a wider audience and make what started out to be four white people playing an eclectic mix of musical genres into a truly integrated and inclusive experience. There is no punching down here.

And it is true that he was and still is a person with quirks and strange ways of behaving and interacting with people. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to speculate on that. I know what has been written about him, and I don't think that's the way to frame this. What I think is more true is that there was no harmful intent, no desire to render another group of people as irrelevant or to make it so that they are no a part of the songs or the presentation. This seems like an awkward effort to elevate and hear other voices and not much more than that.

Now, will people forgive him for it? I sure hope they will and I know there are other artists who need to have this reckoning.

Monday, January 6, 2020

It Is Not Okay to Attack Teenage Girls

Willfully ignorant jackass attacks teenage girl, film at eleven:
Greta Thunberg has responded to Meat Loaf’s claims that she has been “brainwashed” into believing in climate change.

The hard rock veteran argued last week (January 3) that the 17-year-old activist’s time would be better spent on something other than working to reverse climate change.

“I feel for that Greta,” he said. “She has been brainwashed into thinking that there is climate change and there isn’t. She hasn’t done anything wrong but she’s been forced into thinking that what she is saying is true.”
Thunberg, who has become a figurehead for the global environmental movement and inspired a number of protests, strikes and the continued work of Extinction Rebellion, has now responded to the musician. “It’s not about Meatloaf. It’s not about me. It’s not about what some people call me. It’s not about left or right,” she tweeted.
Meat Loaf is, essentially, just an old man trying to stop the world from changing. This is why he is a failure. It has nothing to do with his music, his art, his ability to perform. It is because he has entered the public space and attacked someone else because they represent a changing world he does not comprehend. No one needs to do that. You disagree, fine. But don't expect to be taken seriously anymore. Don't expect to get away with this shit.

In other words, fuck this guy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Ride Reunion Tour

Ride have announced their return, confirming a series of live dates for 2015.

The band will reunite in May for a UK tour that includes dates in London, Manchester and Glasgow, plus shows in Paris, Amsterdam, Toronto and New York. Ride will also make festival appearances at Primavera Sound in Barcelona on May 29 and London's Field Day on June 7.

In this week's issue of NME, on newsstands and available digitally now, Ride's Andy Bell said: "It's going to be really cool. As we were all still friends, we always thought when the time was right we'd do it. And now the time is right."

"People bought our records first time round," frontman Mark Gardener added, "but our music has grown in significance since we've been away... We want to give the people what they want. We'd be idiots to go out and play a new album, but that's not to say we wouldn't make new music."

There will be a series of live dates that will take them all over the globe. Who plays Hawaii anymore? Holy cow.

17 - 9:30 Club - Washington
19 - TLA - Philadelphia
21 - Irving Plaza - New York
22 - Irving Plaza - New York
23 - Stone Pony - Asbury Park (NEW SHOW)
25 - Riviera - Chicago
26 - MidPoint Festival - Cincinnati
27 - Champaign, IL - Pygmalion Festival
29 - Minneapolis, MN - Mill City

01 - St Andrews - Detroit
02 - House of Blues - Cleveland
03 - Paradise - Boston

06 - Saturn - Birmingham
07 - Fun Fun Fun Fest - Austin
09 - Crescent - Phoenix
10 - House Of Blues - Las Vegas
12 - Wiltern Theatre - Los Angeles
14 - Catalyst - Santa Cruz
15 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland
16 - Neptune - Seattle
17 - Commodore - Vancouver
19 - Republik - Hawaii

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Members of SlowdiveMogwai and Editors are part of a newly-announced project.

The band will go by the name of Minor Victories, featuring Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, Editors guitarist Justin Lockey, Mogwai' bandleader Stuart Braithwaite and James Lockey of Hand Held Cine Club.

Pitchfork report that the group are at work on their debut album and that the release will feature a duet between Goswell and Sun-Kil-Moon's Mark Kozelek.

I am not a huge fan of Mr. Kozelek, but I'll give this a chance when I can hear it.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sign Morrissey to a Label, Please

In terms of no-brainer business decisions when it comes to music, why wouldn't you sign Morrissey?

Morrissey has lamented the lack of label interest at his recent New York show.

The former Smiths frontman performed at the city's Madison Square Garden venue on Saturday (June 27), describing the gig as "fantastic" to fansite True To You.

Despite his enjoyment of the concert however, the singer did also acknowledge that there was "zero label interest", suggesting that no record labels attended the gig. Moz added that it was "a sad sign of the times".

How many artists have a built-in, near-permanent audience for their music? Even if you stood Morrissey up once every few years for a short tour, you could get a dozen singles and three albums out of this guy in a couple of years, no problem. Morrissey is sitting on music he can't put out because the labels that have signed him have been wary of how to market what it is he does.

I'll fix this for you--it's time for a Morrissey album entirely in Spanish. Making that happen would cement his hold on a Latin audience that goes crazy for his stuff. 

You're telling me that this guy can't sell 25,000 downloads of something in a few short weeks? Come on. This has to be a case where labels won't sign him because they know they can't take advantage of him and not pay royalties. This has to be about the margins--you gotta pay this guy what he's worth and nobody wants to do that.

Here's a viable professional with a proven track record of keeping his core audience. He doesn't hit the pop charts because the pop charts don't know how to handle him. If you marketed him and promoted him properly, people would show up and buy what he's selling. He's fucking Morrissey--this is what he does. And people go nuts for it and love it and hold on to his stuff forever.

The music business still makes no sense, no matter what.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blog Rock

It is, however, the definitive article of "blog rock"—for a record that was initially praised for having no context, it’s nothing but context in 2015. I’m going to assume that some of you would’ve been in grade school or even kindergarten when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was released. Thus, a debriefing on "blog rock." It’s a very silly genre name, like pretty much all genre names. Most give some indication as to its sound, its scene, maybe even a description of how one should listen to it. Though blog rock eventually took on a definable set of characteristics, it’s a unique case where the name references the delivery system of the people who write about it. It has extremely little to do with the actual music, which is the entire point.

I missed Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and I missed Neutral Milk Hotel. I am still not convinced those are bands, but the evidence in front of my face says otherwise. 

This is all proof that there are things that are important that many, many people never paid attention to and don't remember. At all.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Jack White Tour Rider Fiasco

The publication of "tour riders" is best understood as an outdated meme or piece of gotcha journalism. It's the sort of thing you read on the archives of The Smoking Gun. It has nothing to do with reality. If you're going to mount any kind of tour throughout the world with more equipment than would fit in a 70s conversion van, you need to have a rider in order to be able to put on shows. That rider can be simple or meticulous, and it has nothing to do with being an asshole. It has everything to do with the logistics of actually putting on a show. Once everyone has agreed upon things, the rider is a quality of life deal because being happy is better than being miserable.

Here's a valid point from Jack White:

but in reality, it’s just some food and drinks backstage for the hundred workers and guests who have to live in a concrete bunker for 15 hours. some people bring their own living rooms on tour, some people ask for a huge spread. who cares? what you’re looking for is someone throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their brown m and m’s, sorry to disappoint.

 The rider, in and of itself, is a confidential document that exists between performer and venue; it's supposed to be an extension of an agreement to perform and it ensures that the venue and the artist reach a successful conclusion of their business arrangement. When we start talking about arenas and the large scale tours undertaken by artists of White's stature, you can be rest assured that there will be a specific rider with details in it that ass clowns will be entertained by and that's fine. You can read about a banana allergy and giggle and there's nothing wrong with that.

Anyone who actually does the work will tell you that the hours are terrible and the pressure is enormous. When you bring 100 or so people to an arena, you have to make your equipment work with theirs and you have to achieve maximum success as quickly as possible. You have time constraints to work with. Sending a crew member out to look for snacks is wasteful and unnecessary--just have a rider and be done with it. Cater in food for your crew and eliminate the distractions. Efficiency really does matter if you want to see a band play on time and for more than a few songs.

Most arenas are in the middle of a vast industrialized area where people do not live; hence, there are no grocery stores and few, if any, restaurants. Can you imagine being in the middle of downtown where the hell or at a socked-in music festival and then have to deal with finding water and food for 100 people? What a nightmare.

Asking people to grow up is a tall order these days. Meanwhile, the professionals will handle the logistics.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lars Isn't a Bad Drummer

While I agree that Metallica at Glastonbury is a strange choice--and probably one that will bring in a crowd that will clash with the usual Glasto crowd and cause headaches--I don't agree with the assertion that Lars Ulrich is a terrible drummer.

All of the members of Metallica are accomplished musicians. You may not like individual styles or choices, but you can't escape the fact that these guys can play. I just don't see how their set works in that setting. It works great everywhere else--in the context of their arena and stadium shows, people get what they expect and more. They play their guts out.

I think Mogwai are looking for a little of what Trent Reznor and Pat Carney need--attention and love.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Do You Still Display Your CDs?

I still have all of my compact discs, but I no longer put them on shelves and display them. I keep them in Rubbermaid containers in the basement.

For a while there, I was digitizing them, but that project turned into an internal debate. Do I digitize everything (I pretty much did) or do I save myself the trouble and skip the few clunkers and promo CDs that I own?

At some point, I will display them and go back to buying them. I am waiting for the absolute bottom to drop out and then I'll go out and buy more than I'll ever need and covet them and then wonder why I am tired of carrying containers around and buying shelves and not being able to find the time to properly alphabetize them.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Shame the Misogynist Trolls

Conor Friersdorf is right about something on the internet, so the trolls will have to wait.

First, he is correct that the misogynists who say horrible things to women have driven them from the national discourse. There are far too few women who blog and engage in online activities. It's inherent upon anyone who engages in discussions online to shame misogynists and call them out for what they do.

Second, he is absolutely right about Megan McArdle. 

Then I guest-blogged for Megan McArdle. At the time, she was employed here atThe Atlantic. My stint running her page while she vacationed included the keys to the blog's inbox. Even as someone who'd previously blogged about immigration in California's Inland Empire, fielding insults and aggressive invective as vile as any I could imagine, I was shocked by a subset of her blog's correspondence.

While I would agree that she should not be subjected to misogyny, a lot of that stemmed from the fact that she had a high profile position writing about things about which she knew nothing. There's no excuse for vile commentary, however. McArdle angered people to a great extent, so the misplaced vitriol should have been properly handled by her employer. They should have known that it would take special effort to protect her from what was said to her in private correspondence because they were already heavily moderating her comment threads. 

All employers should protect their employees from that kind of hatred. Using sexist language and violent threats should result in people taking actions to protect their employees--and shaming or filing charges against people who engage in this activity should not be confused with censorship or attacking free speech.

The attacks on her ideas should have been directed at her was due to her inability to see beyond her own privilege, her own ideology, and her inability to do basic math. They should never have involved misogyny. The Atlantic kept her employed well past her expiration date as a commentator or pundit on matters well out of her intellectual depth. If she had been a man, her stupidity would have been just as evident to all.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Police Lost BBC Studio Tapes 78-79 Covers

This is a great compilation of what amounts to a very small number of tracks. The Police blew up so fast, the BBC was lucky to get them into what few sessions they held for the band as they emerged in London during the late 1970s. What's missing are the shows, obviously. Why their actual BBC concerts are still in the vaults is one of the great omissions.

The Police played several shows on the BBC that could be remastered into live albums of incredible quality--that is, if the tapes are any good. If not, spend the money to repair them and put this stuff out.

Their sessions, captured here, are not as spotty as they could have been. The covers? Ugh. Thanks for being as unoriginal as possible. But the music is more vital than ever.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This is Not About What You Think It's About

"The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen

I was maintaining one of my domains on this thing they call "GoDaddy" last night and I went hunting for unclaimed gems.

After twenty or thirty frustrating misses, because everything is already taken, I typed in "The Killing Moon" and the image before me went green, and became very inviting. You know how GoDaddy sells this stuff. They can have you checking out with fifty domains in mere minutes if you don't have the intestinal fortitude to walk away from the computer. I filed it away in the back of my mind since this was a fishing expedition for things that might work (and there are few that ever do). What would I do with "" In my mind, it was entirely associated with the song of the same name by Echo & the Bunnymen, a song which I revere and have always put up there with the greatest ever made.

Echo & the Bunnymen were more than a mere post-punk romantic-era 1980s band. They made brilliant albums, fell apart, came back together, and have continued on despite tragedy and loss. They are quite a rare commodity in the music business, which is falling apart as we speak. Their current works are as artistically relevant and viable as their earliest works. They have few, if any, real peers.

Echo & the Bunnymen

I didn't register the site at all and I logged off and did other things.

What on Earth would you do with that? I asked myself. It's like trying to touch liquid nitrogen--no good could possibly come out of it (you can have "" if you want).

The questions began. I was bothered by what I knew, which was, in all of the years of registering and putting up domains on the Internet, no one bothered to pick up what, I think, is the coolest title of all. There was a novel by the same name. There was (and even, perhaps, still is, at least one band with the name). There are blogs out there and I'm wondering how many Echo & the Bunnymen fan sites there are with some take on the name. I mean, talk about a "no shit, there I was..." sort of moment. How could I ignore it? How could I not seize it and take it and do something positive with it.

What could I do with it? What would you do with it? Well, let's think about that.

You could park on it and auction it off. Never.

You could make it about the song. No, it's not my song. It would be wrong to do that. But, I have to acknowledge the debt that the world of music and art owes to the song, which is brilliant.

You could keep others from abusing it. Well, who am I to do that? Just by registering the domain and doing what I'm doing, I'm ruining it for fans of the song (I hope not, but oh well). 

You could take the title as inspiration, and do something worthwhile. Well, that's what I have settled upon.

The title, then, is the starting point for looking at art, music, and the culture where it landed, circa 1984, which was a terrible year for pop music (no, I won't slag anyone). The people who follow romantic and goth music and culture have exquisite taste. I am bound to disappoint, but who could live up to such a song?

My point of reference is based in the American Midwest. I think of the look and feel of the song as being something you would pick up at "Tatters and Platters," and if you want to know more about that, stay tuned.