Imagine if you will, a world parallel to our own, identical in many ways, disparate in others. Long story short, in this mirror universe, Bands I Useta Like was optioned by a major independent film studio, and made into a hit movie. It combined animation and live action, and because the producers had deep pockets, licensing songs for a decent soundtrack wasn’t a problem.
Whether I allowed the film to be produced at all was contingent upon the quality of the music choices. If they balked at a crucial song, or refused to include it, I would walk off the project. Which I did, and they replaced me on-screen with a real actor. Like I said, the movie was a hit.
The 2-disc soundtrack sold out of stores overnight. Even though it came packed in that shitty double jewel-box, which just winds up broken, on the floor of a car.
I’m old enough to remember when Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian; i.e., a person who stands behind a microphone and makes people laugh. I have vague memories of Kathy Griffin doing the same thing. As far as I can determine now, Maher and Griffin just make people mad, by saying or doing something deliberately inappropriate, and then flaying open their breast in apology, crocodile tears a-flow.
Then they go back to being unfunny. Because funny ain’t what pays their bills.
More integrity and realism than anything Maher has done since.
I’m also old enough to recall when Maher’s show Politically Incorrect lived up to its name, instead of being a vehicle for trendy virtue-signals. My pal Jim Goad once made an appearance. It was far more fringy and loose. Now it’s a reductive caricature, a safe forum for “differing viewpoints” (vetted by the network/sponsors). It’s a funnier joke as it is than anything that ever came out of Bill Maher’s mouth.
I strive to be fair in my work, I really do. Except for when I don’t, and I’m not.
Meaning, there’s a handful of musical acts for which I have no love. All I have for them is contempt, which I lamely try to carve into humor. It’s best that I come clean about it, to put an end to wondering why I don’t mention some bands at all. Ever.
I don’t want to know how many times it’s been tattooed. I assume a lot.
Threading the needle. That was Seattle music in 1994. A desperate, futile gambit to save what few musicians remained from Lady Heroin’s clutches. Cobain was dead. A hideous monster was uncovered, in that bands came to realize that their labels would capitalize upon their deaths just as they would their lives. It’s one of the sickest, most repugnant eras in recording history.
Pearl Jam, Seattle, 1991.
Mike McCready, guitarist for none other than Pearl Jam, entered rehab for drugs and alcohol during the production of Vitalogy, in Minneapolis. Just imagine the options for debauchery that McCready was presented with; you can’t. I can’t. Pearl Jam has sold around 60 million albums worldwide. When that happens, secret people offer you more of something you like than you’ve ever seen, or knew existed. Anyone would give anything (or say anything) to be with you. Continue reading →
When was the last time the name “Pearl Jam” sounded weird to you? Can you even remember when it didn’t sound like a band?
Vitalogy, Pearl Jam’s experimental third album, was finally released in November of 1994. By that time, the record store I had assistant-managed was consumed by Blockbuster. Originally, I worked at “Tracks”, which was where I experienced Pearl Jam’s debut disc Ten, around ten times a day for several months. This resulted in a loathing of that album that burns to the present day. Continue reading →
Freedy Johnston is a New York-based singer/songwriter who was born in Kansas. His lyrics are articulate and literary, and of a quality not heard since the days of Gordon Lightfoot and Laura Nyro. He has been called “a songwriter’s songwriter”, and his work has been featured in movie soundtracks, most notably Kingpin(1996).