11/04/2006

Reaping Th' Whirlwind SUCKS.

Oh, we'll be remembered as assholes. Oh, we'll be cursed, our graves dug up and our skeletons dragged through the streets of unspeakable Blade Runnerish ghettos. God, it's horrible what happens to us.

And how sorely we deserve it. Well, not me. I don't fuckin' deserve it. Odds are you don't deserve it either. But I don't deserve it even more than you don't deserve it because I'm th' fuckin' Polish Cavalry trying to turn back th' Panzers. Yeah, that's me.

I mean, there's some other stuff I deserve. That's how I come to terms with this sick feeling I have. This disquiet. Displacement.

Dude, when I gave up on California and that it was pretty cut and dry because I always try to take responsibility for my shit and I realized my responsibility was to not be miserable. It was easy to leave that mess because I knew that, whatever else, I could never be content if I despised the very ground under my feet. I knew that was a starting point. I knew I loved Western Massachusetts because it's th' Land Of The Ice Cream Scooping PhDs. And I knew I'd end up fuckin' delivering pizzas with other brilliant college-educated lefty tree-hugging freaks and that was a-ight. Yeah, it's scarier when you're 40 than when you're 26 but so motherfuckin' be it. I'll be fine. My musical revenue streams are slowly, slowly, slowly growing to where I could see joining th' Working Poor by next summer.

I mean, I sort of get it now. You have to just always have a bunch of pokers in th' fire and you have to keep track of and nurture all the little flamelets as they flare up and die down and you have to write every fucking penny conceivable off your taxes and then some.

I think the target looks something like this, although I suspect our talented and enterprising Duncleshmeister will be on to even greener pastures by th' time I deign to approach his mark. You can't be all Brian Wilsony, man. Is the thing. That's not going to get you much but a sweet MySpace fuckin' page in this cold world. And plus look what th' dickens it did to our man Brian. Although again- happy to report, happy to report. Every cloud has a liquid centre. Like how I spelled that all British?

In fiction we had this little soundcheck song we used to do called "I'm British" which was just this sort of dopey robotic bouncing-octaves-on-the-bass synthpop thing and you'd sing in a bad English accent and say th' things you do and the chorus was "...because I'm British...I'm British..." It was amusing to come up with stuff that you do that is ostensibly British by nature and then it would just be all nonsequiter shit like "...Iscoopuplittlechildrenand I takethemtothewoods because I'm British...I'm British..."

we also developed a pretty scary three-part a cappella rendition of th' Mentos song which was quite probably the best thing we ever did. The best thing. Aside from when we fired whatsisname and took his picture and made all these blown-up images of his face and stuck them all over our amps and instruments. Uncalled-for but strangely compelling.

That's it in a nutshell, isn't it?

But anyway, back to the pain. We're here for th' pain. We wanted fuckin' upliftenment we'd go somewhere else I s'pose. Lawksamussy yes indeed.

All right here's th' pain for you- I'm starting to feel the same way about this whole country as I did about California in '01.

These people were all here before, you know? They were here. But they kept their fucking weird totalitarian shit to themselves, right? Now they're all Out, you know? They all came the fuck out in April '03 and now we have to read their stupid stickers and look at their flags all over everything.

Not much of that happening in Madrid, my friends.

And this horrible thing where we've turned our celebrities into these animated corpses of mediocrity that spend so much time branding, branding, branding, that when th' thing takes hold they're like, oh, yeah- I'm just a talentless person that stumbled in front of the camera at the right time. I don't actually have anything.

Lennon once referred to himself as "the guy who won the pools". I thought that was pretty cool.
It was cool that he was that cognizant of th' business and the role of luck and timing in starmaking.

But hey, that's Lennon, right? And that's Ray Davies. It's even Vedder and Kiedis and Cobain and them to a lesser extent. But now we've got the Cash Pack, and we've got this hip hop money legacy in music now that reaches its tendrils right back to the 80's. And the top of the American music heap are these random people who have their clothing lines in production before they release a "recording".

And behind it all is guys like me. For every K-Fed there's a dozen fuckin' guys sitting in front of computers cranking this shit out. With their ProTools LE and their sweet front ends. And hey, K-Fed's video is "dropping" registered trademark this week BIG on VH1 don't you fucking know. so hold on to your fuckin' wallets, citizens. And don't forget that Hulk Hogan's daughter's new album is flying up the charts too and boy is it good.

After the first song I RAN to my fucking SUV and hit th' WalMart for all manner of personal care products. It's such great music, man.

K-Fed. K-Fed. What the fuck, huh?

I think the logical sequence of events will eventually lead us to actually having a turd as president and a bucket full of vomit as our Gershwin, our Stevie Wonder. And all our cultural and political icons will be various disgusting bits of cast-off, stinking fat and offal. Fuck, yeah.

and our TV shows will just be these animated pieces of shit and reeking tampons animated and walking about and selling fuckin' chicken parts for th' Good Folks At Home.

And that's what we've lined up for, man. Well, not me. Actually, what th' fuck. Me too. That's what we've chosen, man. Nobody sez I can't hit maliboo with a head fulla Ketamine and rotgut and a Tek 9 and dilute th' workforce. So by not doing that I'm just as much a part of the worthless-by-design celebrity anticulture as anyone else. I'm complicit.

it's what we get. It's what we fuckin' bought. Reaping th' whirlwind sucks.

12 Comments:

Anonymous roxtar said...

I distinctly remember (and have never forgotten) a day back in 1987 when I was in the radio business, and a VP at Geffen had his tongue in my ear over a new band that had a hot debut record coming out. He didn't have a lot to say about the album, and I got the distinct impression he hadn't even heard it yet. But I could hear his erection over the phone when he was talking anout "the merchandising." (Logos, t-shirts, etc.)

The band? Guns 'n' Roses.

I decided to avoid the rush and start hating them right away. Never regretted my decision.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Dammit, Roxtar, I had a comment, and then I read yours and now forgot it. Well, I'll come back laters... As for G&R, I'd hate em if some of their songs weren't kinda ketchy -- and I'll admit I always liked that one about having to kill their dog: "I loved her, but I had to kill her."

9:23 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

This is definitely related to my past, and why I never seriously pursued music.

When I started writing songs, in the '86-'87 period as a 15 year old, I thought the music culture was already putrid. The music in the charts was vapid rubbish like Madonna and Stacy Q, or the Poison / Bon Jovi cock rock that was equally crap - all about 'rocking', whatever that is. I wanted no part of it, because I thought quality already wasn't wanted or recognised.

Of course, that's why I never became a good musician.

I had no idea things would get even worse. Have you noticed how there's no dynamics in modern radio songs? It's all equally compressed until nothing stands out.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous roxtar said...

Simon:

Some of that may be the fault of radio. You want your station to jump out of the dial, so you process the bejesus out of your audio chain so that the quiet parts are as loud as the loud parts. Of course, anyone can turn filet mignon into shit, but I've never known anyone to turn shit into filet mignon.

In other words, just because it sounds shitty on the radio doesn't mean it wasn't shitty to begin with.

9:32 AM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

Roxtar:

I've been experimenting with mashups, and the community is only interested in songs they know, and their field is sadly narrow, so I've been sonically analysing modern radio hits because of it.

Remember I don't even listen to the radio by choice, so I hear these things online and on YouTube, and there's a definite lack of dynamics going on that seems to be the 'in' sound.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Y'know, this is a _very_ interesting field for the production-conscious.

-FM compression has a long, long, distinguished career in rock. Roxtar, you probably even remember a time when records (especially singles and 12" singles)where mastered _specifically_ to sound good when they were FM compressed and aired. I was in on the very end of this and found out about this incredibly specialized radiocentric record mastering.

What this meant was that a lot of the time records were actually _mastered with less squash_ so they would pop over the radio. And also, since your disk was going to get pumped with FM compression you were careful to make it very clean and quiet so that when your dramatic, quiet passages went over the radio any hiss wouldn't be cranked tenfold.

Nowadays you have a double- compression thing going on because all this lousy, crummy music is plug-in mastered to within an inch of its life and then hit _again_ on the air. And it does sound pretty dire, I have to say. And people are making recordings geared at iPods because that's how people listen to music now, so your production values are pretty low. It's just being listeneed to on those little ear things.

I had a cd out in '98 and was touring radio with it and a couple of times the dj would mention that it seemed quiet compared to the other disks. I told him it might be worth the considerable effort of turning the volume up by one notch. God, I was fucking difficult.

2:43 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I agree with you the plugin thing Bobby. My experiments with Ableton Live were initially exciting because I could finally get an equal volume on my vocals through compression for once, so I applied it to the other instruments as well, thinking it would be easier to mix. It's technically more polished , but it's not *exciting* to the ear, you know?

I'm utterly convinced digital music has a listener fatigue effect that vinyl and tape didn't have. I spent 12 hours attempting to mix on and off on Saturday and I was *destroyed* by the end of it.

When I was younger and spinning a great album on vinyl, I frequently flipped it over and put it on again when it ended. I never do that anymore.

I definitely have my suspicions about what makes songs sound like shit sonically, but I just don't have the ability to do it myself. That's what producers and engineers are for. It's also why I'm just a song *writer*, not a singer or performer.

Hey, a mate was reading a book on English Boy Band Twat Robbie Williams and I had a flip through it while he was having a shower. There was a mortifying bit where the clueless wanker announces to the Producer and Engineer that he expects a Co-Producer's Credit for the album. They look at each other silently.

*squirm*.

I've listened to your work on the PC, on the stereo, and on my Considerably Cheaper Ipod Knockoff, and it sounds exciting and dynamic on all of them. You know your shit.

5:41 PM  
Blogger roxtar said...

I was one who always had the engineer hook up a pair of car stereo speakers in the production studio so that I could get an idea of how commercials, promos, jingles, etc. would sound at the point of consumption.

Hey, everything sounded good through the big ol' JBL's. I wanted it to sound good in a 76 Gremlin.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Ah, Bobby. Here I am, back from a vacation spell, and I knew I could drag my rusting hull here and you'd scrap off some of the barnacles. I even like that it hurts.

worthless-by-design celebrity anticulture would be nice on a tee shirt except some asshole like F-Ked would be pictured wearing it in next week's People Magazine. Great phrase, though.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

Currently listening to Geo. Harrison's "Wah-Wah" via iPod Shuffle. Not unlike passing a watermelon thru a catheter.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Sean said...

I think the only thing that was a whole lot better back in the day is that we were young. Madonna ruled the airwaves with turd after platinum turd, but we listened to XTC instead and enjoyed ourselves. The Reagan administration started the work of restoring the imperial presidency, now apparently almost complete. But I do not despair of the republic. Or the pop-culturosphere. But then, I'm on a lot of medication.

I remember, circa 1986, asking a guy who in a suit what kind of music he liked, and he just slouched and said "whatever they give me". He was tired.

Anyway, without the plastic pantheon, who would we have in common to gossip about? Real people?

10:21 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Fuck it's good to have ye back, Sean. Everyone say hi to Sean Stromsten my old college and post-college pal.

Deep thinker, erstwhile really good songwriter, lover of Brazilian music, proud neurotic. Rumored to have impressively large wang.

Sean was the bassist in my first sort-of-real band, The Model Sons.

Let's give him a big wet tongue in th' ear, shall we? Post well and often, Strimfeldt.

10:16 PM  

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