Friday, August 31, 2007

Meister brau

I'm drinking less these days, but I'm still enjoying fine beers. Imagine my delight when I came across these items recently in the specialty brews section of our local market:

The Monk-themed Belgian ale was otherwordly. ("Monk." "Abbey." Get it?)

The Zappa beer wasn't quite so good. And how quirky to name a brew after a dude who shunned alcohol. Apparently, it was a labor of love. And apparently, there is to be a whole series of these. Both of which are good reasons to give the brewer a big thumbs up.

* * * * *

UPDATE: Apparently, there is an IJG-related brew out there as well. Yup. It's a pity they mis-spelled the cyber-handle of our lead singer, but considering that we didn't even ask them for this free publicity, I'm not going to complain:

The Reverend is Homeless

I'm not a religious man, but... ah, shit. This guy has been cyber-mining the musical motherlode for some time now. I hope Satan cuts him some slack.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I forgot to remember to write this post

It has been a while since Mr. Roach (justly) trumped Mr. Presley as a subject for this blog -- but, in addition to all of the other shit I've had going on lately, I've actually been listening to their music in pretty much equal measure in the days since. That, plus the fact that Kris Tiner managed to churn out two stellar posts on both of these fellas almost simultaneously, has inspired me to return to the idea of writing something short 'n snappy about Elvis, who (in my opinion) is a rather misunderstood figure in modern American music. So here we go (it's snappy, but, alas, it's not short):

As a kid, I never liked Elvis much. My brother and his pals were big fans, but I suspect their affection went as much to the "fat-Elvis-with-leis" period as anything else. I could appreciate the ridiculousness of that stuff, but could find little else to engage with.

It wasn't until college, when I started reading William Faulkner -- and, more broadly and erratically, other so-called "Southern Gothic" writers -- that I began to understand. (Yeah, I know, that doesn't really compete with KT's being hipped to Elvis through Wadada Leo Smith.) I refer you in particular to Faulkner's amazing series of novels about Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional place that I always saw as a metaphor for a dying southern culture -- about which one is tempted to say "good riddance," though in the Southern Gothic take it was a riddance without much possibility of redemption, and therefore, on balance, more sad and pathetic than vengeful. This stuff helped me understand that despite all the screaming girls (or, later, middle-aged ladies), there was something melancholy about Elvis's music. Or at least there was more to it than the be-happy-or-else aesthetic that would be imposed on rock-n-roll by Dick Clark and others. Whatever his intentions as an artist, Elvis' mid-fifties recordings for Sun (which I personally see as the high point of his career) seemed to hint at what Tenessee Williams had referred to as "an intuition of an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience."

Indeed, while there are at least three or four other early rockers who I think were far more deserving of the "King" title (KT mentions Bo Diddley -- my own top choice for that label would be Little Richard, though my personal favorite rocker is probably Chuck Berry), I would go so far as to say that nobody could compete with Elvis when it came to rock-n-roll as a vehicle for pathos. Not that Elvis was particularly introspective. But his music invited introspection, in part because he himself became such a potent symbol of what may be a peculiarly American kind of success (poor kid gets famous by providing one example of the wonderful possibilities of cultural intermixing) and failure (poor kid succumbs to a life of excess, and -- intentionally or not -- highlights the bum deal most of his black peers faced).

There is melancholy in the biography, of course. It is hard for anyone willing to look beyond the absurdity that marked Elvis' latter period to not suspect that there was always great unhappiness under the surface (as also seems to be the case with Elvis' cultural progeny, about whom I personally think we should all really just shut the fuck up already). By most accounts Elvis was a dirty, poor, awkward, painfully shy kid, from a demographic that in a pre-PC era would have been referred to as "white trash." Of course many (all?) of the first rock and rollers came from humble backgrounds, but Elvis was never quite able to obscure his origins (whether via a flamboyant persona or some other means); even standing in the oval office with Nixon he came across as a benighted "aw shucks" country kid who happened to be able to "sing good."

And then there is the music itself. Elvis didn't really know what he was looking for when he first walked into Sam Phillips' reception room; he just knew he was looking. (It is thus kind of poetic that he was driving trucks for a living at the time. And damn if the music that he and Phillips and the Scotty Moore / Bill Black rhythm section would end up producing wasn't perfectly suited for "the road" -- maybe even more so than that favored musical fare of the highway-loving beats.) One of the most salient features of the early sides was the famous Sun slapback reverb. Nowadays recording studios are built with an ear toward a clean, dry sound, but before one could add effects processing artificially, studios were prized for their built-in acoustic personality. Sun was one of the most characteristic of these -- through a combination of the building materials used in the room, its shape, and contemporary recording technology and techniques, some kind of alchemy was achieved. (Elvis was not the only beneficiary of this, as is obvious if you listen to the numerous other recordings that came out of Sun before it became museum -- including sides by Howlin' Wolf, Ike Turner, Johnny Cash, and a host of other not-too-shabbys. But with Presley the effect was to ramp up by a thousand percent the basic mournfulness of his vocal style, making him sound like some kind of hip wraith.)

Elvis' melancholy was also infused with (you knew I was going here, right?) understated humor -- a facet frequently overlooked, but brilliantly captured by Jim Jarmusch in the film Mystery Train (featuring lengthy, hilarious performances by Screamin Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer). In fact, what really hooked me in to the Elvis story was when I learned how "That's All Right" -- the first single -- was created. Elvis had been moping around Sun -- whose recording services were available to anybody for a modest fee -- for months. His original goal had been to record some maudlin ballads for his mother. A lot of trial and (even more) error ensued as he attempted to make his next steps; although Sam Phillips and receptionist Marion Keisker (who I have always suspected was an under-recognized player in the Sun story) were both confident that Elvis had talent, none of the initial recordings really clicked. Then, during a break in one particularly frustrating session, something happened, according to guitarist Scotty Moore:

...we were taking a break, I don't know, we were having Cokes and coffee, and all of a sudden Elvis started singing a song, jumping around and just acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass and he started acting the fool, too, and, you know, I started playing with 'em. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open -- I don't know, he was either editing some tape or doing something -- and he stuck his head out and said, 'What are you doing?' And we said 'We don't know.' 'Well, back up,' he said, 'try to find a place to start, and do it again.'

This, incidentally, is one of the best examples I know of creativity set loose by a willingness to stop trying... so... damned... hard. If I ever have to teach a class on composition (not that I think that would be a terribly good idea), day one would be spent impressing upon students the somewhat counterintuitive idea that sometimes the mind just needs to drift, daydream, wallow in aimlessness before it can actually get anything done. In this case, after hours of comparatively regimented work, a sudden descent into goofery produced something amazing, almost by accident (it is worth pointing out that, at least according to Moore's story, the musicians were hardly aware of the beauty of what they were creating -- such awareness was Sam Phillips' special talent).

Like a lot of other good music, the Elvis Sun recordings -- in addition to the aforementioned "That's Alright," my favorites are "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Mystery Train," and "Blue Moon"... but of course there are numerous others -- sound more complex than they are. I can remember, for instance, initially wondering what the hell the drummer was doing to make everything groove so nicely -- and of course, there was no drummer. (The percussive effect seems to be coming from the bass and / or Elvis' acoustic guitar -- though as far as I know Elvis never strung a dollar bill through the strings of his instrument, which is purportedly how Johnny Cash got his guitar to sound like a drum.)

Pity that it was mostly downhill from here.

* * * * *

Twelve years ago (right about this time of the year, actually) I had a chance to visit Memphis and Sun for the first time as part of the cross-country car trip that finally landed me in LA. Something about moving west has made me, on the whole, a bit less of a romantic -- but there was one very hot night during which I was actually able to sit on the hood of my car in front of the momentarily-empty, barely-refurbished Sam Phillips studio, with its little neon sign. I spent a good forty minutes there, just staring at the sky while absorbing the energy of that place. It was a good feeling, but rather bitter too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Errata and neologisms, together again

Apropos of nothing, of course:

Einstein's Mistakes.

Other people's mistakes.

New kinds of language.

Other new kinds of language.

I hope it really is a satire

Apparently there is a musical based on an American Idol theme; you can get a synopsis here.

I think there's great potential in this material, but if they really want to drive the point home (if indeed there is a point), they should pull out all the stops. I mean, just go over the top. You know, tease out all of the subtextual associations that go along with the word "idol": virgin sacrifice, Indiana Jones, badly chanting Hollywood "natives," cannibalism, whatever. Throw Clay Aiken (or whoever) in the middle of that and see what you get.

(Jeff, any scoop on what this actually is, or whether it's any good?)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I love a parade

Well, once in a while, anyway.

Last weekend we ingested a dose of neighborhood culture with "Multnomah Days", a celebration of local businesses, artists, and services based in our little corner of Portland (the corner also known as Multnomah Village). The high point (for anyone with kids, anyway), was the rather lengthy morning parade, whose participants ranged from the very predictable (local churches... yawn) to the very eccentric (you shoulda seen our hairy, hippy clowns). In other words, typical, charming Portland.

I spent much of the time either dodging candy or watching with great interest to see who was going to accidentally step in the horse-shit that was deposited early in the parade by a cop-carrying thoroughbred. But there was a moment when my interest was truly piqued: by a freaking marching band, for chrissakes.

I guess what grabbed me was that said ensemble was staffed by a panoply of, uh, mature gentlemen and women.

I know it has become hip as all get-out to revisit the marching band format, but what probably sold me on these folks was that they weren't hip -- and they dug in and rocked the crowd anyway. It was completely without artifice. The notion of having a marching band wasn't a gimmick, or a unique way to express post-modern angst, or whatever. Rather, it was simply a bunch of older folks who wanted to get together on a Saturday morning to play a surprisingly rousing version of "Wooly Bully."

As a former prisoner of a high school marching band (it was very hard to circumvent that particular ensemble if you wanted to participate in most of the other music programs at my high school) I had to smile. I never really enjoyed having to don the spats and other ludicrous hand-me-down regalia, but every once in a while I'm reminded that maybe my time on the field wasn't totally wasted. Practically speaking, marching band gave me some of my first experiences arranging horn harmonies on the fly (mostly as a way to goof off during band camp, while some other section of the band was being taught their choreography). And of course there's this: jazz has a significant tangle of roots in the New Orleans street culture that included marching-band-like entities.

On the other hand, given that most high school marching bands are obligated to include at least one "contemporary hit" in their repertoire, I cringe to think of some of the performances that will unfold on football fields across the country starting in September...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like shooting fish in a barrel

Well, sort of.

As a kid, I used to fish a bit, but I never caught much of anything. For me, and for most of my comrades, the "sport" was more about hanging out near (and sometimes swimming in) a lake, eating forbidden junk foods, telling tasteless jokes, skipping stones, and finding stuff to burn in the campfire (I guess I was a pretty typical boy, at least until junior high).

And even though my brother once had a mishap with someone else's hook that accidentally got caught in his earlobe, I must admit I don't see the benefits of a fishing pole that looks like a bazooka. If you click on this site, you'll be body-slammed by a very loud commercial that makes fishing sound like pro wrestling. With dead fish.

I dunno. It seems like the sort of thing Dick Cheney might get off on. (That is, if Dick Cheney still had enough of a soul to actually get off on anything.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Little Max

Oh, shit.

I originally intended to use this post to write up something snappy on the 30-year-anniversary of Elvis Presley's over-the-toilet slump. (Elvis was a hero to some. Not to me -- though I do love all of those early Sun records, including his.)

However, given that Max Roach died yesterday, the idea of following through on that particular goal now seems somewhat sacriligious -- even for me. (Max was famously broad-minded in his musical interests, but I suspect he might have drawn the line at Elvis. If so, I would have understood completely.)

As in the past, there isn't much I can add to the existing eulogies, given the scope and the depth of the reactions by the rest of the jazz blogosphere (spearheaded by the usual suspect). Which is not to say that there isn't more to be understood about what exactly Max accomplished.

This morning I tried to pay some respect by tuning in to WKCR's memorial broadcast (which runs through next Wednesday, I believe). Here, perhaps, is a measure of the man's greatness: I got an error message telling me that "the streaming server cannot accept any more connections at this time." Yikes -- I have never had that happen before, and I listen to a lot of internet radio. (If you get similarly rejected, keep trying, cuz the marathon is well worth it.)

Of course, there is the lingering question, which resurfaces every time one of the big ones leaves us, of whether or not jazz really is "literally dying before our very eyes." And the related question of whether it is more appropriate to wring one's hands in grief, or to celebrate a life lived at the highest artistic level.

We all mourn in our own way, of course; what's "appropriate" is what feels right. As for me, I choose the celebratory mode, both in pondering Max's life and the "state of jazz." For one thing, Max's contribution to music (indeed, to art) was not limited to something finite, like the elements of a style (he swung in such and such a way, he pioneered the use of this piece of the kit, etc.). Those things are of course important, but like Ellington, Zappa, Mingus, Monk, and umpteen other heroes of mine, Max left behind what Joseph Conrad called a "how to be": in this case, a philosophy of artistic survival, vitality, and growth (one of the elements of which was a sense that art is socially important -- imagine that!).

So rather than being one of the last remaining guys to have the "jazz gene," how about this: Max Roach, simply by the example of his life, ensured that "jazz" would continue (even if, in the future, jazz doesn't always sound like the music he created, and even if it stops being officially called "jazz" at some point (now wouldn't that be nice?)). He put so many good ideas into so many people's heads that we'll be hearing from him for many years to come.

The first Max record I reached for today, incidentally, was Money Jungle (and what an apt title to describe the peculiar situation of the jazz musician -- or of any artist in a capitalist society, really). Friends I have tried to turn on to this thing over the years have tended to respond extremely: they either love it or they hate it. I suspect much of this has to do with a sense that the music, without being "aggressive" in the obvious ways (atonal, loud, or overly fast) does sound a bit like a protracted struggle. Several of the performances seem to come within a hair's breadth of total collapse.

And that may be the crux right there. On this recording, as on so many other great jazz recordings, the possibility of failure is tangible, and the participants don't seem interested in concealing it: the result is not artful, it is art. The willingness of certain talented people to risk everything, not as a platitude, but as a real choice with real consequences, good or bad: I can't think of a better definition of greatness.

Ah, the WKCR stream is back -- gotta go listen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Find it, find it now

One of Web 2.0's better moments? Not likely.

I don't get it. Is this meant to be a sleuthing device, to help you pinpoint the original version of some hard-to-place melody stuck in your head? In that sense, I suppose the thing has potential.

Or is it really (yet another) social networking site, masquerading as a music service? What's with the sharing? The ratings? The comments?

Worse yet, is this the American Idol philosophy run amok? Social networking as a massive talent show? Why else would one want to take the time to listen to an insipid a capella rendering of "Amazing Grace" (or whatever)?

Aside: in a former life, I worked as a librarian in the music and arts department of a NJ library. A few times a week I got to helm the music reference desk, where I was sometimes asked to help someone hunt down the name of some elusive ditty or other. It was in this way that I first came to learn the names of some of my favorite cartoon melodies, like "Entrance of the Gladiators" and the "Volga Boat Song" (both of which have been quoted in recent IJG tunes). Good times.


Perhaps, as Mwanji humorously suggests, music really isn't a healing force in the universe. But if, like TIG, we want (again humorously) to get into the issue of having / not having rhythm, something tells me we’d all be a lot better off if this recently-retired, morally-deficient, and tragically-coiffed fellow (not to mention the folks “dancing” around him, including at least one journalist who should have known better) had even the barest hint of “groove” or “soul.”

Actually, I'm not sure this is funny (though it was featured as a bit on Letterman a while back) -- at least not in this "raw feed" form. I mean, the clip is silly enough, and it's hard not to laugh, but given the fact that Rove seems to be laughing too, in the end this comes off as just another diversionary tactic. See? He can't be the spawn of Satan -- he's too goofy!

It was in some ways more jarring (and more effective as dada) to see this clip (for the first time, in my case) as background during a story on Rove's retirement last night on Countdown. It was run entirely uncontextualized (I had to YouTube it before I knew where it came from) during Olbermann's interview with James Moore (I think). Presented matter-of-factly as representative Rove footage, the effect was more comic in a cut-to-the-quick kind of way, and ultimately a little disorienting too. Oh yeah. This is how bad it has gotten. It was like watching Hitler kiss a baby: awkward and malevolent all at once.

Of course, "Virginia" and her fellow (self-described) "Rovehos" might not agree.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Important news

You have to know about stuff like this when you have a kid.

Apparently, there is a blog devoted to archiving as many versions of "the diarrhea song" as possible.

Most of these seem rather, uh, strained (sorry). For instance: "When you’re rummaging in the attic / and your ass goes automatic." Still, it's good to know there are connoisseurs out there devoted to finding the "finest variations" of this little ditty.

(Horror of horrors: the version I learned as a kid -- "some people think it's funny / but it's really wet and runny" -- isn't there yet.)

When I was a kid myself, I used to be fascinated by the idea of a "kids' culture" -- which was pretty viable despite the fact that most kids didn't have direct access to mass media. Turns out other people find that fascinating too.

I sing the body, whatever

(Aside: I suppose the above image gives a new vibrancy to the "navel-gazing" tag...)

So I know I'm guilty of occasionally using this blog to less-than-surreptitiously complain about a certain back condition (ankylosing spondylitis) that has been a part of my life for the last ten years or so. I'm going to start out this post by being a lot less surreptitious.

Apparently, according to my rheumatologist, there are some new developments. What the most recent X-Rays suggest, anyway, is that my vertebrae are now actively fusing together. That's right: my spine is slowly calcifying into a single bone! Neat-o, eh?

So yeah, I've entered a more aggressive phase of this fucking disease. The usual trajectory from here is to fuse and fuse until you "cain't fuse no more." It takes a while, yes, but that's the narrative.

No point in getting melodramatic about this, of course. There's no way I'm going to end up like the guy pictured above (even though he had the same illness). Besides, there are a few new "wonder drugs" on the market that purport to be able to stop the thing in its tracks. (Alas, like most wonder drugs, these oddly-named concoctions have the potential to create a whole different set of problems. But what the hell -- it's not like the "booze therapy" I had until recently prescribed for myself was without its own side-effects.)

* * * * *

Why on earth am I boring you with the tedious details of this situation? Well, like everything in my life, it always seems to come back to music. In this case, I've been thinking a bit about composition and its relationship to both the body and the physical act of playing an instrument. I wonder: is composition a habit you develop when your fingers aren't skilled enough to articulate the sounds your mind is imagining? (By "you," I mean "me," of course.)

My own history as a player has been a hodgepodge at best. The piano was the first instrument I can remember wanting to play, and though I started early enough (2nd grade), I never came close to being what you might call "accomplished." I was certainly never the kid who played exceptionally well at the recital. I could find my way around a keyboard alright (still can), but I hated reading music (still do), and more than once was caught by my teachers(s) filling in the gaps of what my eyes couldn't follow with what my ear was hearing.

Sure, the piano was always my main axe, but I was never really in love with it the way I was in love with the process of "making up songs" (even way back then). I suspect on some subconscious level that I felt obligated to find an instrument at which I could truly excel -- this, I believed for a while, was the essence of being a musician -- so at some point in my youth I spent quality time with the drums, the guitar, the trumpet, the clarinet, the bass clarinet, and the tenor sax. Alas, nothing clicked, though of course I got a lot of practical knowledge about how these instruments worked. But I always came back to the piano, and that was where I did the bulk of my writing.

In high school I found myself constantly at war with the notion of instrumental virtuosity. On the one hand, many of the extra-curricular musical circles I moved in were oriented toward the heavy metal / prog rock vibe, which of course is all about technical mastery. I was one of a handful of keyboardists in my class willing to take the time to learn some silly Yes or Rush song or other, mostly for the "benefit" of the opposite sex.

But truth be told, I hated the whole chop-heavy ethic of that environment. Partly because I suspected that I couldn't hang with it consistently. (It's one thing to play a little flashy piano for some big-haired girls in a choir room, but something else altogether to do that sort of thing regularly with an actual band.) More importantly, it all felt a little misdirected to me. I probably knew even then that the time it would have taken to get my technique up to speed -- if such a thing were even possible -- was time that would have been better spent actually writing music.

So at some point in my early college years I resigned myself to being a merely competent instrumentalist (piano mostly, but a little guitar too), and concentrated on writing the best music I could in spite of my technical flaws.

Of course, just as I was becoming comfortable with this role, I accidentally started studying jazz more seriously. It began with a ragtime phase (in 1995, shortly after moving to LA to go to grad school) and that quickly led to an immersion in classic jazz piano styles, like boogie-woogie and stride. I was so hardcore about this stuff for a while that I actually found myself playing fairly regularly with a sad little "dixieland band" (their term, not mine), which was, incidentally, where I met some of the original members of the IJG (including some, like Evan Francis and Cory Wright, who are still in the group).

Because of the level of tactical precision required to execute any of the stride-oriented styles in particular, I found myself spending long tedious hours trying to work up something resembling a technique. I never really achieved that, but I got to the point where I could fake it well enough to play publicly. From there, I got bored, of course, and also got so sick of the dixielanders that for a short time even Louis Armstrong was ruined for me. I then spent about three years burning through an ad hoc "modern jazz piano course" (of my own devising) during which I aspired to play mostly like either Bill Evans or Monk, depending on the day of the week.

Once again, at the end of this period, a certain basic competence was attained, but once again, it wasn't enough to satisfy my own personal criteria-for-doing-it, which was, roughly: if I am going to put in the effort as a pianist, I want greatness to at least be an option. Merely being good at the piano wasn't enough of a justification for going through the mind-numbing hell of daily rudiments. So my self-imposed routines started to drift, and I inevitably found myself using the piano to write instead of practice.

Thus for a second time I abandoned my aspirations toward total instrumental proficiency. And thus for a second time I confirmed my identity as "one of those composers who can't play so good." And all of this, I realize now, was at least partly spurred on by a new reality in my life: suddenly, sitting with the "appropriate piano posture" on the typical backless piano bench for more than fifteen minutes at a time could lead to excruciating pain. Suddenly, too, I was unable to sleep through the night for the same reason. (Ankylosing spondylitis is at its most onerous during periods of inactivity.)

I have always been a night owl, but the fact that I could no longer sit still for the amount of time it usually took me to get into a good compositional work rhythm (for me, writing at the piano always involved a warming up period of basic noodling) meant that I had to develop new work habits.

The first of these was pacing. It's amazing how many compositional problems can be solved by walking back and forth, humming to yourself. I've always been interested in the relationship between sound and movement -- but suddenly this relationship was much more immediate and compositionally relevant for me. The fact that I took up writing-while-walking may help explain why so many of my IJG-era tunes are more groove-oriented than the stuff I was writing during, say, the Evelyn days.

The second new habit was writing music on a computer. I know, it sounds kind of scary. But the computer has come to feel very much like a neutral device to me -- it doesn't seem to guide or limit the direction of a particular piece in the way that writing on a piano did. Thanks the invention of notational software, which could be loaded on a laptop, which could be placed on a counter so I could work while standing, I could score an entire piece without touching the piano at all. (And actually, with my temperament, I can't imagine keeping a group like the IJG stocked with tunes if I were computer-less. With the original quintet version of the group, I used to do stuff the old-fashioned way (i.e., by hand) and found it tedious as hell. But I suppose that's a topic for another post.)

I guess the irony in all this was that, though I was suffering physically much of the time (both from the disease, which was finally diagnosed in 2002, and from the fatigue that came with the accumulated lack of sleep), I was suddenly writing better music than I thought I was capable of. I suppose there was something delightful about being "freed by necessity" from the limitations of an "actual instrument" -- no longer did I need to cultivate my tunes by physically playing them. This (for me) fresh perspective on the process of writing music was like rediscovering the rush of completing my first compositions: I felt like I was seventeen again, and writing for all the right reasons.

Anyway, we'll see if the new drugs make any difference in all of this. First, I guess, I should get over my aversion to having to stab myself in the thigh once a week.

We just bought a dorky red upright piano for the basement -- just for fiddling around, I told myself, though I hope it will also tempt the kid into learning to play. I do daydream from time to time about starting some kind of free jazz duo or trio -- as a periodic diversion from the stresses of running a fifteen-piece group. But the piano portion of that hypothetical project would inevitably be more of an energy-over-ability thing. You know: "punk piano." Certainly if I ever start taking myself serious enough as a pianist to act like this, you should feel free to tell me to fuck off.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Musician, heal thyself!

Uh, "tear down the internet"? Really?!

Yeowza, is this dude a nutcase. Here's the tabloidy link, which I'm sure you've already seen.

Let's keep in mind that Sir Elton's own music started sucking long before the rise of the blogs and iPods and cell phones and all the rest.

Actually, let's strike that "sir" business, shall we? I think that's part of the backstory here: what Reggie is really expressing is a modern version of the traditional aristocratic contempt for the riff-raff (people like you and me, dontcha know) -- in this case, those who have dared take advantage of music biz cleavage that has opened up as a result of the technological developments of the last ten years.


Can the next musician to become wildly famous and popular please make an effort to stay sane?!