Friday, December 21, 2007

I've quit listening to the radio, pretty much. Even in the car. For years now. Except for NPR, at the store, occasionally.

It has occurred to me that I do this every decade or so. Right at the end of the sixties, after the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, nothing interested me until Elvis Costello and the Clash. Then after that faded, nothing interested me until....Nirvana.

I was reminded of that because of the MTV Best Videos of the Nineties show, (hey, it's the holidays, all repeats.) Most of the songs, the boy bands, the girl bands, the others left me kind of cold -- though, I must admit, Baby, Hit Me One More Time sounds and looks better to me now than it did at the time. I mean, catchy pop tunes and all that.

But then they got to the final songs: Close to the top, Losing My Religion, by REM, a great song. Then, coming in at number 2, the song One, by U2, which reminded me how great the album Achtung Baby was. And then, drum roll, number one song:

Smells Like Teen Spirit, which literally sent shivers down my spine by how good it is. 17 years later, and it is still chilling how good that song is.

Now, I was in my forties when these three songs came out, and yet, I remember watching the Teen Spirit video the first time and my mouth dropping open and thinking music was saved....for a few more years.

So....I think I'm just waiting for the next great song, the next great band. There are some great artists still, Neil Young, for instance, and I've gone through a phase of listening to a lot of old time country music, and alt rock and alt country. I can like and appreciate Arcade Fire, and have a fondness for Dixie Chicks, but ... the next great song just hasn't hit for me. I'm beginning to hope that even in my fifties and sixties, I'll at least recognize greatness...I hope.

And it will be safe to listen to the radio again.

Unless rap music is it, which means I've totally lost it.


BilboBend said...

Right at the end of the sixties, after the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, nothing interested me until Elvis Costello and the Clash.


Is it just youth? It's the same, but the 'fun' went away. Yes, late 60's early 70's, zeppelin, stones, beatles, black sabbath, deep purple. I went to many concerts, and 'events', the events were always several days of nudity and drugs. I loved multi-day events.

'ALTA', the famous event in cali where the hells angles hurt the hippies, seemed to kill the peace&love for the music makers.

The big concerts ended. The music wasn't fun anymore, I think internally I started associating 'deep purple' with the crowds and violence, and simply tuned out to new music sometime after the early 1970's.

It was a hell of a lot fun in the peak 'love-in' days. I think with 'black-sabbath' the music not only became 'dark', but the crowds dark, gone were the days of 'free-love' and gentle drugs. Flowers, sex, hippy-chicks, in came ugly women, with tattoos on their breasts and rear, marked like cattle, and the look of death on their faces.

It's good to hear that music later catches you. I really think that listening to the music in the day was an association with the event's. When the events died, the music died.

By the late 70's the concerts had banned everything, and started searching people, that's when I quit going. Then came disco.

I still go out to music at small clubs when I'm out of town. I don't like what bend offers, and have literally seen people pissing on walls at the Domino Room, where the better wild visiting bands play.

The strangest thing at the Domino, is that even though there is no-smoking all the kids are smoking pot, and frequently they'll walk up and blow it in my face. It's hard to enjoy music when your standing in urine, and someone is blowing smoke in your face. ( The Spawn of Bend is largely rude nasty little bastards ).

My favorite music thing was in the 60's down at Huntington Beach at the Golden-Bear which held about 150, they would have Janis Joplin, and other names as such; It wasn't hard to get in, you just had to be at the door. There was passion, everyone was there for the music. Sure everybody was drinking, and stoned, but there was a vibe.

My last visit to the Domino some Texas Rock Band, oh ya "The Gourds". ... All the kids that I saw pissing and pouring beer in each other's hair, well after the second set, I went out for air, and there were 1/2 dozen of these kids passed out on the floor by the exit door. They hadn't even made it through the second set!!!! So busy harassing others, and incapable of managing their substance abuse, that they were all laying along the wall in their own vomit completely passed out!! ( note, this was only a few months ago )

I still do sing along when I hear a Beatles or Stones song, I would have loved to go to the Zeppelin concert, from everything I heard, it sounded like a very good event.

For me it was 'Deep Purple', that was about the time I quit buying LP's. I think I bought a little music later, but not much. The Deep Purple concerts were incredible, until they got violent and over-crowded. Remember in the day, these events cost almost nothing to attend. Note like today $300 ( $10k ebay ) for Zeppelin.

McMennamins brings some good music to St. Francis. I don't like the security guards at the LES SCHWAB AMP, too much like cattle herding.

Duncan McGeary said...

It probably is age, but that notion is somewhat confounded by my later two listening favorites, punk and grunge.

Like I said, rap may be to me what rock and roll was to my parents.
In which case, I'm a fuddy duddy.

But...they also said I'd quit reading comics, S.F., wear a suit and tie, and quit going to movies....

I think if a Nirvana came along again, I'd recognize it and and appreciate in whatever form it takes. Quality will out.

Disco, big hair bands, musak rock, diva's, boy and girl bands, yeeech. These pieces of chocolate covered shit seem to cover about half of every decade, and then real music comes along and knocks them out for awhile.

Duncan McGeary said...

After watching the other 60 video's from the nineties (letting my heart clog, bilbo) I realized I just wasn't here in the nineties.

Oh, Bend didn't have MTV most of that time, and I didn't listen to the radio, but really, Man I don't know most them songs.

bruce said...

My favorite concert memory relates to the U2 tour following the release of Achtung Baby, the Zoo TV Tour, when it played in the U of W Football Stadium. With all the cars in the air and huge horseshoe ring out from the stage so Bono could get closer to the crowd. I learned about some of this from the book "U2 by U2" that my wife bought me for Christmas last year.

I was in Madison, WI, installing a database system I wrote for a local printer. I knew the concert was coming, but figure tickets were gone, at least at any sort of reasonable price, and then the day before the concert I happened to be listening to a local radio station and they were giving away a few tickets for seats that had been used for setup equipment and were now open.

So I ran to the phone, called, and somehow got a ticket. And then, partway into the concert, I moved right down to the rail, 50 feet away from Bono. I was on the side of the stadium that looked towards the full moon rising over us, with 70,000 plus others that were absolutely owned by Bono.

It was an awesome experience. My and a few Canadian girls that had been following U2 around like the Dead dancing along the rail, just feet from the stage, under a full moon. Sweet.

There is still some good music out there, even some of the rap (like Eminem five years ago) but most of the radio stuff is pap these days. Watch the Henry Rollins Show and you get some more interesting stuff.