Rock Is Dead

Just read a little blurb on yahoo news about Motley Crue suing their manager for focusing all his energy on Tommy Lee. Something about Tommy looking buffoonish, and hurting the Motley rep.
 

I find that hilarious. Tommy is a buffoon, always has been. Tommy is the perfect example of the media savvy rock star, unfortunately that has backfired on him big time. He’s known more for being a “celebrity” than a musician. This is a 50 year old guy. In his furious attempt to stay relevant, he forgot he’s not 22 anymore.

Rock and Roll is a young man’s game, and only one guy has pulled off the aging rock star thing, and that’s Kieth Richards. And Keith doesn’t even try to stay hip, by say dressing like a 22 year-old Emo kid, like Tommy does. 5 years ago when Tommy was only a spry 45, he was dressing like a white rapper.

Which reminds me of why Rock sucks so bad now. With MySpace and cell phone cameras, and DVD’s, there is no longer one bit of mystery left in Rock and Roll. When I was a kid, I didn’t know a damn thing about the artists I loved, aside from the very few articles that came out in the 2 or 3 rock magazines that were available, and those articles and pictures were strictly controlled by the artist’s exactly to preserve the mystery.

I didn’t have the faintest idea how Led Zeppelin felt about politics, or how Pink Floyd felt about the environment, they let their music do the talking. I saw an old interview with Freddie Mercury last night, and he said people always ask him what Bohemian Rhapsody is really about, and he said his answer is always “I don’t Know,” because an explanation would ruin the mental picture people have in their heads, would take away the mystery. People can interpret the song anyway they want, and they are all correct. That’s what art and Rock and Roll are all about.

These days it’s all about knowing every possible thing about these idiots, you can chat with them on MySpace. Do you think Jim Morrison would’ve chatted with every drooling moron who wanted to talk to him? Would Jimmy Page have a blog about the crappy cheeseburgers they got in Tulsa while on tour? The stuff those guys did became legend because nobody had a video of it. There was mystery. Was Jimmy Page really into witchcraft? Who knows, because he didn’t have a “Here’s the witchcraft I did today” section of his MySpace page.

The most aggregious example of knowing too much about rock stars are Metallica, with their pathetic documentery “Some Kind Of Monster.” I confess I love this movie, only because I hate Metallica, and no one could have portrayed them in a worse light than they happily did themselves. It’s basically 3 hours of them whining, and “getting in touch with their feelings” with their $30,000 a month therapist. They should be taken to Graceland and castrated, but it’s too late, as they left their balls in therapy. At least Jason Newstead had the sense to bail on those whiney schoolgirls.

Published in: on September 28, 2007 at 5:27 pm  Comments (2)  

Layne Staley

I happened to catch an old “Unplugged” last night on VH1, featuring Alice In Chains. I liked Alice In Chains, in fact I liked most of the “Grunge” stuff. It reminded me of the odd and incredibly sad way that singer Layne Staley died. Overcome by heroin addiction, and the band finding itself irrelevant in the post-grunge era, Staley Od’ in April 2002.

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What’s sad, is that apparently, he had been dead for close to 2 weeks before his body was found, and was so decomposed, that it took awhile to get a positive ID on him. His death was met with a collective shrug, much different than the worldwide mourning of another Seattle icon’s suicide, Kurt Cobain.  Only 200 people showed up for his candlelight vigil.

Ultimately, he did it to himself, and I don’t have a lot of sympathy for junkies, but I just find it sad that this guy was so despondent, and alone, so alone that no one missed him for 2 weeks. The guy had a great voice, right up there with Chris Cornell. 

On some level I do understand, because I’ve known addicts, and you get to a point where there’s simply nothing you can do, you have to give up on them. Sounds harsh, but anyone that’s dealt with it will understand. That seems to have happened to Staley, in a big way.

This clip, “Rain When I Die,” is some anime thing, but the track is incredibly powerful, one of my favorite AiC songs, that, like most of their catalogue now, is morbidly ironic.

Published in: on September 15, 2007 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

The VMA’s Suck Out Loud

There was a time the VMA’s were cutting edge, irreverant, and had career making moments. Those days are long gone. MTV has lost it’s sense of humor and irony altogether, and now they think this is the Oscars, or the Grammys. So do the artists, like that stupid moon man means anything, especially these days, when no videos are even played on MTV.

I tried to watch this year, but all I was able to handle was checking in here and there. Sorry, but every hip-hop or rap artist sounds the same to me, I cannot tell them apart, and the same goes for Emo bands. Maybe I’m just getting old, but there just ain’t no excitement goin’ on. They’ve replaced actual interesting muscal moments with staged controversy.

I mentioned this on my other blog, I believe Britney’s horrible performance was absolutely staged precisely to be horrible. Her musical career has been irrelevant for about 5 years now, and like Tommy Lee, she is no longer famous for being an artist, she’s famous for being famous. She certainly has the ability to pull off one single song without a hitch, no matter how messed up she is, but who wants that? Being stable and together would ruin her career, and she and her people know it. Hence, a controversial performance, that leaves everyone worried about poor Britney.

The rest of the show was basically a commercial for The Palms. The performances in the suites were claustrophobic and dark, and were an excuse to get awesome helicopter shots of the balcony pools.

Published in: on September 11, 2007 at 10:57 pm  Comments (5)  

Great “Rockumentaries”

hype.jpghype.jpgI love rock documentaries, even bad ones. The great thing about them is, you don’t have to be a fan of the band or music being featured to enjoy the film. Here is a list of some that I think are really fascinating, in no particular order. I believe these are all available on Netflix, except the Decline Of Western Civilization movies.

Another State Of Mind-1982

This film documents an ill-fated tour by two punk bands, Social Distortion (still together today) and Youth Brigade. They fix up an old school bus, and hit the road, to mostly disastrous results. Fans of old school punk will see many familiar faces, including Ian MacKaye of Fugazi. This was 1981-82, and punk rock was still far outside the mainstream.

Memorable Scene: As the tour disintegrates with money problems and the bus constantly breaking down, a roadie and member of Youth Brigade quit, and take a Greyhound home.

127_dig_dig_06_01.jpg Dig!

This is what documentaries are all about. This film was shot over 7 years, and chronicles 2 L.A. bands, that are rivals/friends, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Dandy Warhols. While the Dandy Warhols go on to huge success in Europe, The BJM disintegrate under the ego and drug problems of their leader, Anton Newcombe. Absolutely fascinating from start to finish. More info here. 

Memorable scene: The BJM get into a brawl onstage at the Viper room, in what was to be a showcase for a label that was about to sign them, blowing the deal. A career destroying moment, caught on film.

The Decline Of Western Civilization Parts One and Two232eeb6709a06e8f0ed41110__aa280__l.jpg198300_rt.jpg

Made by now famous director Penelope Spheeris, part one focuses on the L.A. punk scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s, and part two, the L.A. metal scene of the late 80’s. Part one features interviews with long dead punk icon Darby Crash, who committed suicide shortly after the film, as well as Lee Ving from Fear, now an actor, and the band X. Really interesting stuff, even if you hate the music. Shot in gritty black and white, the film really captures the rawness of early punk.

Part two, “The Metal Years” is a cult classic, having only been released briefly on VHS, and now pretty much unavailable, and not on DVD. It is however, played often on VH1, as well as the Sundance channel. Ultimately became a scathing expose of the bloated L.A. metal scene of the 80’s. A must-see.

Memorable scene: WASP guitarist Chris Holmes swilling vodka in a pool, in full leathers, getting sloppy drunk, in front of his mom. Actually, a painful scene to watch as he clearly has some issues, but rockumentary gold! 

Hype! hype.jpg

This film chronicles the rise and fall of Seattle Grunge, as told by almost all of Seattle. If you were into that, it features just about anybody who was anybody in that scene.

Memorable scene:  An itern (I think) at Sub-Pop records, recounts a story about how People Magazine contacted her about popular “Grunge Terminology,” and she proceded to make up slang on the spot, which People printed.

Tribute-The Movie  tributepostersmall2.jpg

This is not available anywhere, I’ve only seen it on Sundance.  A doc about tribute bands, this one hits home to me, as I know a bunch of guys in tribute bands. Generally, the tribute band is the last refuge of aging never-were’s, who just don’t want to quit. In this film, we get the story of four tribute bands, a Kiss, a Queen, a Judas Priest, and a Monkees, as well as some obsessed tribute band fans. This film is painful to watch, but I can’t look away. We get a glimpse into how some of these guys start to think they are the rock star they are portraying, and also of the sad reality as these guys, mostly in their late 30’s or early 40’s, realize they are not going to be rock stars in their own right. Compelling film, if you get a chance to see it. Here is the website, but it’s never updated.

Memorable Scene: There are so many, but I’ll go with a scene where the Kiss band is auditioning a new Gene Simmons, at obviously, one of their mom’s house, (these guys look to be about 35), and the guy auditioning is a total freak, who won’t listen to instructions, and jumps around like an idiot. Really tough one for me, as I’ve been a part of many auditions, and dealt with guys just like this.

Published in: on September 4, 2007 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment