Thursday, December 27, 2001

CLASSIC ROCK
I am becoming a cranky, old man. I can tell by my taste in music. I'm constantly pissed off when listening to new stuff because...well, because it sucks. When I rage in my head about the suckiness of this music, I sound like every old bastard I've ever met who was pissed and bitter and taking it out on my music. That crap isn't music! When I was your age, we had songs with words that meant something and melodies, or at least guitar riffs you could hum!

And so, resigned, I point my finger at the car radio and punch the button for Classic Rock. I know, Classic Rock Radio sucks too. They distill entire careers down to three-song rock blocks. The DJ always scats like a hip insider, but his soulless commentary betrays the fact that he's 22 and would rather be spinning Korn. Oh, how I long to hear the authenticty of a geezer windbag like Scott Muni. At least he got stoned with John and Yoko and told a few good stories.

Whatever its flaws, most of the stuff on Classic Rock Radio was played by real musicians. There's a feel and vibe there completely lacking on most anything released by the 'N Backstreet Rage Against the Korn Creed alterna boyband mafia. I now find myself willing to give a chance to bands I once wrote off with a New Wave smirk. YES is suddenly cool, as is Led Zepplin, AC/DC, the James Gang, Steve Miller, Black Sabbath...oh Jeeze, the list goes on and on. Sure, they could be pompus, but at least the were reaching for something other than a marketing plan. (BTW - Styx still sucks, as do Journey, REO Speedwagon and all those lame ass hair bands. God how I hated interviewing those idiots back in the 80s).

Much like the fasionability of thin ties,every musical trend eventually reappears to be absorbed into the Classic Rock juggernaut. Right now, it's New Wave. I hear more Cars and Blondie on Classic Rock Radio than I ever did on regular radio when they were current. And to its credit, that New Wave stuff still sounds pretty weird next to "Keep On Rolling" and the soft folk anthems of late-period Eagles ( Soft Folk - no strident political messages or harmonica solos, just the smooth strumming of cute boys with broken hearts).

Maybe I've just heard too much music. My friend Jon is a professional soundman and I don't think he's enjoyed music for over a decade. He burnt out sometime in the mid-1980s mixing five bands a night at the old Right Track Inn in Freeport. Many soundmen will tell you the same thing - too much music makes you hate it (actually, it's more like too many pompus wannabe rock star assholes makes you hate music). Whatever, am I asking too much for Creed to have one, just one recognizable guitar hook in a song instead of that white noise wash they so love? Would it be possible for the alterna-nation to stop whinning and blaming other people for their lack of a life? Can everybody just send the dancers home during the next video shoot?

Having said all that, I must admit I love the crap dance pop of Britany Spears. She's got killer songwriters (even if English is their third language), over-the-top production and a perfect staring-out-from-under-the-eyelids pout not seen since the heyday of the Bangles' Suzanna Hoffs. Sure, she's a vacant teen lap dancer who got a boob job at 15 and will likely have a horrible decline and fall (you can bet my VCR will be recording that VH1 Behind The Music). But for now, she understands the world wants sex wrapped up in a high school girl who can dance and she's ready please. Hear that thumping sound? It's Debbi Gibson banging her head against a wall. Doooh! So that's how you have a career!

So, beside Britany and maybe Pink (her new song is hot), is anyone out there hearing something great on the radio?

No comments: