Re: Don't Tell Em Nothin, Let Em Guess

1

Gumbel doesn't have natural rhythm. Can he jump?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:29 AM
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He and his brother do make great bike-cops...


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:31 AM
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It's weird how Gumbel keeps trying to get Davis to be snobby about genres and rankings and the future of music history and stuff, and Davis is all, "I'm cool, I play social music, pop is social music," etc.

It reminds me a bit of some of the disconnect I have at the Wordless Music series they do here in New York. They invite one experimental composer or performer who sorta rocks out (and is usually angling for a more poppy appreciation) and a rock band or performer who sorta does complex experimental music stuff (and is usually angling for a more "classical" appreciation). The guy who does the announcements usually tries to say it's all the same thing, but the groups themselves don't seem to think so.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:35 AM
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Fuck genres, that's what I say. They're only useful for finding things at the record store, and now with music stealing we don't even have to do that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:36 AM
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No, they're also very useful for distinguishing yourself from people who have bad taste. This is in fact their main social function.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:44 AM
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Okay. Fuck people who care about genres, they have bad taste.

Also, indie rock sucks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:45 AM
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Honestly, I don't think Gumbel did all *that* badly. Davis was a weird old guy at that point, and though he seemed to be in a good mood during the interview he also had a reputation for being a world-class asshole. I can't remember his autobiography all that well anymore, but from what I recall it doesn't seem like that bad of an idea to approach an interview with him as an opportunity to fish for incendiary comments about how much everyone else sucks.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:56 AM
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I was planning on going to the library today to get this 33 1/3 book about a Celine Dion album.

I considered getting it for my brother for his birthday; he'd asked for the My Bloody Valentine one, but the store didn't have that. As music snobs go, he's pretty unreflective, so I decided against it.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:57 AM
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Sifu's killing it today.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:58 AM
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Davis brought the word "motherfucker" into my vocabulary. I knew the word already, but he showed me how it could be effortlessly introduced into discourse of any kind.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 10:58 AM
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re: 10

He used it often as a compliment. He described John McLaughlin something like this [from memory]:

Tony Williams told me he had this guitar player, from England, and that he was a motherfucker. So, I checked him out, and sure enough, guy was a motherfucker.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:09 AM
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I think it was not long after this that Davis stopped giving interviews about his music. Nice work, Bryant.

Davis was, of course, a world-class dick, even by his own account.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:09 AM
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often as a compliment

This was, as I recall, also the way it was used, surprisingly enough, during the Dean Smith era and UNC (does this mean anything to foreigners?). College basketball. It has the connotation of "badass."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:14 AM
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7 gets it right.

his autobiography is almost entirely boasting and complaining about other people.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:16 AM
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14: He does have some moments of self-awareness, like when he recounts how by rights Thelonius Monk ought to have beaten him to a pulp more than once, but was too nice a guy to do so.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:18 AM
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re: 14

I don't think that's entirely true. He has some pretty harsh things to say about his own past self as well. Particularly with respect to his drug addictions and his treatment of some of his wives and girlfriends.

He was an arrogant shit, but, hey, he was Miles Davis.

On preview, Pwned by 15.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:18 AM
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I should write a small tract entitled "In Defense of Genres"

I think they're pretty good shorthand for describing bands or artists if the similar artists or bands you can think of aren't widely known.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:25 AM
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I appreciate the long wide-ranging life Miles lived. huge mistakes. huge successes.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 11:28 AM
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DS is too self-effacing and Canadian to mention that he himself linked this interview (I think, I didn't watch it) a few threads back.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 12:14 PM
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DS is too self-effacing and Canadian to mention

Well, Margaret Atwood's just like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 12:19 PM
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ah, that country air. DS is Malcolm Gladwell


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 12:26 PM
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I'm with Tom, I think Gumbel avoided the far worse interviewer pitfall of asking know it all questions that prove you're versed in the subject but don't leave much for the person to respond to. It's a lot better to look a little foolish so that they can define themselves in response to your simplistic setup.

Or rather, I thought that until he asked Davis about his future ranking. Then I thought, what's that motherfucker talking about?


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 12:45 PM
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As this is the music thread, I hope no one minds if I brag on a friend of mine and his website, The Eunice Waymon--Nina Simone Memorial Project. He's doing lots of cool stuff in Tryon, NC, and making plans for some kind of Nina Simone Festival next year.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 2:28 PM
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Contra Tweety, I'm don't think genres are so problematic. Obviously it's stupid to define them narrowly, or to bound yourself by them ("I hate Country"), but I've been surprised over the years at how informative they can be. You're listening to (say) a bunch of alt.country bands, drifting along, then suddenly a line is crossed, and you're hearing genuine honky-tonk. I mean, it's a spectrum, not quantum leaps, and people define the dividing lines according to tastes, but I find that, if a given genre doesn't work for you, you're really not going to find much to like in that genre - even if there are exceptions.

I know I'm not explaining this very well. Let me try one more way: A friend says, Check out this example from Genre X [that you dislike] - it's awesome. I may well like that example. Was I wrong about Genre X? Usually not - that example just caught my ear for whatever reason, but that won't make me like the next 10 examples from Genre X.

Prediction: Someone will say "I don't hear genres - I just hear music." Tell it to Obama.

The main thing I'll say against genres is the obsession with naming and identifying them - people like to pigeonhole things, of course, and there's a lot of perceived value to being the first to pigeonhole something. But those tend to be not-informative.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 3:11 PM
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Inviting Miles Davis, a great jazz musician, to smugly dismiss popular music as beneath him shows a total ignorance of the history and nature of jazz.

Ogged is right, Davis is just operating on a higher plane. Which is not inconsistent with being an annoying asshole!


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 04- 2-08 3:46 PM
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Had the exact same impression listening to Terry Gross interview Tom Waits. Jeezus, was she out of her league.


Posted by: The Critic | Link to this comment | 04- 3-08 9:06 AM
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