Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

Rolling Blown: The Demise of Rolling Stone as a Definitive Music Journal February 17, 2010

By Alexander Castiglione, aka Stigz

Anybody that has a subscription to Rolling Stone probably knows where I’m going with this.  For those of you that don’t get the music journal in the mail; bear with me.

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed something going on with Rolling Stone.  Specifically, who was on the cover.  The particulars are as follows: I have seen, in recent memory, a half-dozen covers which made me stop in my steps.  Especially since this is the same magazine that used to have legends like Jimi and Robert Plant on the cover, and even more obscure up and coming acts which we all know and love.  However, Lil Wayne, like this past week’s cover, is not a person I would say is contributing to rock.
Or music.
Or the planet, for that matter.

In fact, he makes the top five for people we should euthanize, slightly behind Carson Daly and Ryan Stop-Fuckin’-Smiling Seacrest.  Of late, we have also seen beauties like Megan Fox, absolutely delicious.  Or Shakira – who should permanently jack Kit Kat’s catch phrase, “Break me off a piece,” and have it forever floating over her head holographicaly.  Somebody should call Steve Jobs about this.  And it makes a whole lot more sense than the I-Pad.  But I digress.

Even John Mayer, who regardless of your take on him/his music/his fans, is a legit musician.  Mayer uses his Strat to slay a dragon with some serious riffs, and still breaks it down jazz style to have panties dropping from here to Japan.  Say what you will about him, or this new “Sex Object” PR approach his people are spinning, but this dude can wail.  In short, he earned a cover.

Then we have, which to be honest I thought it was the cover of an AARP catalog, the November 29th 2009 issue of Rolling Stone with Bono, Mick Jagger, and Bruce Springsteen on the cover.  Yes, I know it was regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Yes, I know it was a big deal.  And yes, now I know that two of the three are well acquainted with the good products from the great people at Pfizer.  But is this what Rolling Stone is about?

This magazine, of which I am a devout reader, has had some of the best pieces in not only music journalism, but journalism in general.  They all were about rock in some capacity.  Movies, music, cars whatever, they all related to the “Rock & Roll lifestyle.”  About this elusive and enchanting counterculture filled with good times, loud tunes, tattoos and smoking hot women, which has rocked this country for the last half century.  Yes, sex symbols make sense.  Yes, geriatric rockers make sense (however un-photogenic).  But Lil’ Wayne?  Come on!

Lil Wayne (whose name in itself makes me want to climb a clock tower) is in my book right under Kanye West.  The title of the book?  Douchebags Who Have Contributed Nothing to Music.

Being an aficionado of all music, whether it’s classic rock, metal, post-hardcore or electronic dance music, I can be safe in saying that Lil Wayne and Kanye (and anybody functioning under their paradigm of sampling and using sound effects to no avail and calling it “original”) are the bane of the music industry, and do not deserve the cover of Rolling Stone.  Vibe, yes.  Jet, Ok.  But Rolling Stone – never.
Ever.
Period.

Rock, which is what Rolling Stone should be about, is about sticking it to the man (yea, I stole the Jack Black line from School Of Rock), about finding your voice and screaming it out to the world, about displaying yourself and breaking it down by lyrically tearing apart this random series of tragedies, accidents, joys, hates, failures, and triumphs we call life.  Not about bling, not about retarded Bentley tattoos, and not about who wins the most Grammy’s, but about who actually earns them.  And even Grammy’s lost their appeal, as they have slowly but surely become the music industries equivalent of a high school popularity poll.

The naysayers of this article will say, “Well, it’s pop culture, and that’s kind of what Rolling Stone reports on. Trends in music and stuff…”  Well fuck that.  And fuck pop culture.  Since when did Rock & Roll, or any music for that matter, become about “what’s popular.”

Music is about what moves you.  Music is about what inspires you.  Music is what soothes your savage beast – or uncages it.  Music is what connects us with everyone, everywhere, for all time.  Music is about vibing with the tonal creations of another human being.  Music, good music, is not pop culture.
Pop culture is the enemy.

PS Rolling Stone, please, please, I beg you, stop harboring the adversaries of musicality.

 

The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards…Some Thoughts. February 4, 2010

By Tina Teresi

  • First off, I think the Grammy Awards should be offered as a Pay-per-View special or something.  Only the most popular awards get aired on national television while the rest are given out preceding the televised event.  I don’t think the masses even know they give out Grammys for Instrumental, New Age, Jazz, Gospel, Bluegrass, Blues, Folk, Hawaiian, Native American, Latin, Cajun, Reggae, Metal, World, Children, Musicals, Soundtracks and Classical music.  I feel that if you’re winning a Grammy, it should get aired on national television, regardless if it’s trendy or if the recipient is present.  If it was on Pay-per-View at least I’d be able to fast forward the awards/performances I have zero interest in.
  • To the voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, please consider airing these categories next year (thank you for adding Best Comedy Album this year [Colbert Christmas, The Best Gift of All], that was cool of you): Best Electronic/Dance Album (The Fame, Lady Gaga), Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance (“Working On A Dream”, Bruce Springsteen), Best Hard Rock Performance (“War Machine”, AC/DC), Best Metal Performance (“Dissident Aggressor”, Judas Priest), Best Reggae Album (Mind Control, acoustic, Stephen Marley) and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package (Neil Young Achieves Vol. 1- 1963-1972).
  • Taylor Swift’s Fearless took home Best Country Album, I have no problems with that.  What I do have a problem with was her acceptance speech.  She thanked her record label for letting her write her own music.  Way to call attention to an ongoing problem with the major labels out there, Swift.  Hear what Dave “The Klone” has to say about it here.
  • I was not thrilled with Beyoncé’s performance, felt like I’ve seen it before.  And why would she cover ‘You Oughta Know’ by Alanis Morissette?  That was a terrible idea.  Beyoncé did not have the right attitude for the song.  If she was smart, she would have had Morissette on stage and performed it as a duet.  Morissette can kick Beyoncé’s musical ass any day of the week.  That’s right, I said it.
  • The Best New Artist award went to the Zac Brown Band this year.  I would have liked to see it go to The Ting Tings or MGMT instead.  Win some, lose some.
  • I loved that this year the Grammy Awards provided a countdown time with the ‘coming up’ announcements right before a commercial break.  There’s nothing worse than blindly waiting for your favorite artist to take the stage or accept an award.  Well done.  I also loved the commercials.  Watching the Grammys for me is like watching the Super Bowl for others.  You root for your favorite artist/team to win, some people have a party around this event, the commercials are great, you know it cost tons of money to produce it and there are performances.  It’s just a coincidence that there is only a week in-between these two events .
  • The Record of the Year award went home with Kings of Leon for Use Somebody. I’m just happy they won because I’d have some serious beef with the NARAS members if it went to Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Black Eyed Peas or Taylor Swift.  Kudos to Kings of Leon for giving a cool acceptance speech, they told it like it was: “Not going to lie, we’re all a little drunk, but happy drunk”.  They thanked the usual people- their fans, families, God, and their label.  “Whoever else I forgot, I’ll buy you shots afterward”.  I’m still waiting for my shot Nathan Followill.  😉
  • Worst performance of the evening goes to Jamie Foxx singing “Blame It” with T-Pain, Slash and Doug E. Fresh  I felt like it was a variety show, just too much going on at once.  I hate auto-tune.  It can  instantly turn anyone into a rap star, and I think it’s used too often (Jamie Foxx, did you add T-Pain’s Auto-Tune app on your i-Phone?).  If you need to use auto tone, you probably should not be on a stage.  Then Slash walks on stage and a piece of me died.  They could have used any guitar player, (a line of guitar is the only thing that can save a monstrosity of a song like this), but why Slash?  What do you think?  Did Slash take the gig because, well, a gig’s a gig or do you think he likes this song?  Or maybe Jamie Foxx just likes being surrounded by famous people.  I mean, have you seen the video for “Blame It”?  Ron Howard, Jake Gyllenhall, Samuel L. Jackson?
  • What a monstrosity Taylor Swift’s performance was!  I don’t know what the big deal about Taylor Swift is anyway.  I’ve never liked her voice nor thought she was talented enough to be the country pop star that she is today.  How embarrassing to perform with your so-called “idol” and be singing off-key.  Swift is 20 years old and with this performance, proved that she’s not talented enough or ready for the Grammys.  Never mind Jamie Foxx, Taylor Swift just took the worst performance of the evening from you.
  • It’s hard to believe that Bon Jovi has never performed at the Grammys before; it’s even harder to believe they limited his song selection to three choices so that the fans could vote.  I imagine that if I were in a band as awesome as Bon Jovi and performing at the Grammy Awards for the very first time that I would want to choose my entire set list.  They start with “We Weren’t Born to Follow” then joined by Jennifer Nettles for “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and finish with fan’s choice of “Livin’ on a Prayer”.  I like how no one told Jennifer Nettles to get off stage after her song.  The fans voted on the song, not on her sharing the vocals.
  • Best Rock Album, what a misleading bunch of nominees.  I had no problem with Black Ice by AC/DC, Live From Madison Square Garden by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood or the winner 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day.  My problem was with someone placing U2’s No Line On The Horizon and Dave Matthews Band’s Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King in the Best ROCK Album category.  I’m not a fan of U2 or DMB and most certainly would not consider them in the same genre of rock as the other nominees.  Congratulations Green Day, let’s hope 21st Century Breakdown really is the Best Rock Album of the year, and you better knock on wood, find a four-leaf clover and rub a rabbit’s foot that your musical isn’t a flop.
  • Honestly, I think the rumor of Taylor Swift winning Album of the Year because of the Kanye West incident at the MTV Music Awards was true.  After her horrific performance with Stevie Nicks, how could anyone believe she deserves this award?  Granted, I’m not a fan of the other nominees this year, but anyone would have been a better choice than Swift.  Deep down, everyone knew she didn’t deserve this award, even her.