12/14/2006

Fame: Yesterday And Today: Rough Draft

Look, I'm not going to come on like everything was better 40 effin' years ago. There was suckage in abundance. And you know what? Even I'm starting to get a little (O.K. a lot) sick of videos of George Martin pulling up faders and talking about that god damn edit in fucking "Strawberry Fields". It wasn't polesmokin' Iwo Jima, you know?

Although, I have to say, I won't get tired of that DVD of Rock 'n' Roll Circus with The Who anytime soon. Holy shit. To rub people's faces in your talent like that. That's just mean.

Th' pursuit of celebrity has always been a somewhat ghastly thing to watch. In very few other endeavors do people wear their neuroses on their sleeves with such aplomb. Scratchin', whingein', scrabblin'. Guys ever watch the massively underrated "The Comeback"? yeah, like that. It's like their childhood was so bad but that's th' only thing that distinguishes them so that's what you get.

That's why it looks so terrible on anyone over 35. I mean, aren't you far away enough from your childhood yet? See, I think that's what happened to me. I've always been a little too preoccupied with, I guess, decorum. And not ever seeming to want anything too much. It's unbecoming, it really is. As I entered my mid-thirties I just thought th' idea of running around bribing people to come to your fuckin' show at the stupid Troubadour just wasn't how I wanted to spend my time. Actually, I felt that way when I was 18. Bad example.

I think that's one of the things we love about The Beatles so much. I think, because of the way their story plays out, they never look particularly contemptible. It just looks like they worked really, really, really hard and were very courageous about their choices and their commitment to each other and kept themselves in the path of opportunity. And of course they were lucky, but I think with The Beatles it isn't a question of whether they were going to be pop culture royalty but really, how long it was going to take.

Even The Beatles of my generation, The Police, charted their rise by being untoward. Are you old enough to remember how awful cool people thought they were? How naked they were in their appropriation of punk rock iconography for th' sake of fame? What a fucking noodle that god damn Sting was from day one?

See, I got lucky. I heard "Message In A Bottle" and "Walking On The Moon" on cool late-'70's European radio next to The Pistols and XTC and The Stranglers long before I ever saw a picture of them or watched Sthing fix his hair. And oh, my friends, is that some amazing, amazing music. Fresh, sparse, skilled, concise, new, open, raw, streamlined, shiny as chrome. Ridiculously innovative.

Yeah, I'd dropped them by the time they started to be on MTV all th' time and looked like they were doing cocaine.

Their luck was also epic. But their skill and talent was so in evidence that you were glad for their connections. Plus, they were lifers. They were the real thing, you know? They'd all been toiling in music for years and years, Summers since the Late Crustacean period. He had watched all his buddies become household names during psychedelia and had dropped out to study classical guitar in California, returning to England years later to some pretty prestigious sideman jobs with Kevins Coyne and Ayers. Copeland had road managed Joan Armatrading and others for years and had been in that horrid Curved Air.

Um, I really didn't want to go into depth like this. I just wanted to throw some fucking bombs and piss off. I've got too many gigs for this thought-out shit.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I won't bring up "The Beatles" "new" "album" Love, then.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Neddie said...

Huh -- and here's me thinkin' the Talking Heads were our generation's Beatles...

Let's see, here... The Clash were our Pretty Things, Elvis Costello was our Aznavour, Devo was our Zappa, except that Zappa was also our Zappa as well as our Captain Beefheart. Beefheart was our Lord Buckley.

Tuff Darts were our Fire, The Specials were our Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, the Slits were our Goldie and the Gingerbreads, the Pogues were our Them, and the Knack were our Rolling Stones.

Glad we got that straight.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Yeah, see- even as I was writing this I was thinking, "Ned's going to go w/ th' Talking Heads on this" but what busted it for me was a) The Police did Shea Stadium and b) actually our generation's Beatles probably played six gigs and got fired by their label and do weddings now.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

I think th' Slits were actually our Nice.

9:50 PM  

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