Re: I, too, enjoy music made by downtrodden people the world over.

1

There was a version of this running around during the campaign. It's great; how many Americans are Irish on St. Patrick's Day because of one ancestor on their mother's side?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:41 AM
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Obama's Irish ancestry.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:46 AM
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1: I don't know, how many?


Posted by: Straight Man | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:51 AM
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Hey! I come from Kearneys! (Which means I'm related to the President on March 17?)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:55 AM
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Love that song. It's been a long way from here.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:55 AM
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|

Music-related, but off-topic: Slate features a takedown of Billy Joel, a project that seems straightforward and easy enough for anyone with a modest talent for snark. I mean, Billy Joel wasn't terrible, but he pretty much defined pretentious pop-music mediocrity for a generation.

And yet, the Slate writer completely screws it up - crowning the effort with an absurd misinterpretation of "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me."

Was this sort of mindless contrarianism always this, well, mindless? I have this memory of Kinsley, for instance, being a shrewd exploder of popular myth. Sure, he often picked easy targets, but this country has always provided a target-rich environment for contrarians.

Was I just excessively credulous in my youth, or was there a time when, say, the New Republic didn't suck?

||


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:16 AM
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Was this sort of mindless contrarianism always this, well, mindless?

Yeah, he hints that there are a lot of reasons to hate Billy Joel, but doesn't give any, other than that he is a phony who calls people phonies.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:29 AM
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And yet, I award the article 5 unintended humor points for the phrase "You can't defend yourself with anti-B.J. shields".

That is 100% true. You just can't.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:35 AM
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Yes. Unfortunately, not just you.

As a listener I feel the same way about Billy Joel, but a.) as a Tin Pan Alley pop musician he actually had more craftsmanship than a lot of three chord rock n rollers and punk bands, and at some point I got tired of the same old verse chorus verse chorus I II V 4/4 song over and over again; and b.) there is a non-hip demographic, and when you get sick of the hip demographic you have to take a second look at a lot of people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:36 AM
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9.1 to 6


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:37 AM
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As MC points out, Obama's Irish ancestors at least weren't Catholic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:40 AM
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when you get sick of the hip demographic

I had a moment of enlightenment when I realized that the hip demographic were just Heathers, and that their tastes does not reflect any inherent excellence in the things they like or badness in the things they reject.

IOW hipsters are so five minutes ago.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:49 AM
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Billy Joel's oeuvre would be much improved by random insertion of a chorus of children celebrating Labor Day.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:51 AM
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Not with anti-B.J. shields around your brain. Elsewhere, maybe.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:53 AM
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12: I had a moment of enlightenment when I realized that the hip demographic were just Heathers, and that their tastes does not reflect any inherent excellence in the things they like or badness in the things they reject.

As someone tragically unhip myself, while this is kind of true, it's also overstated. If you spend a lot of time fussing over fine distinctions in something, clothes, music, whatever, you're going to develop skills in distinguishing interesting stuff from lame stuff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:54 AM
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If you spend a lot of time fussing over fine distinctions in something, clothes, music, whatever, you're going to develop skills in distinguishing interesting stuff from lame stuff.

Yeah. Unfortunately, the 'style arbiters' often do pay a lot more attention to this stuff than everyone else, and really do hear about the new stuff before most people. OTOH, if you are one of the people who always hears about new stuff before everyone else, you probably are a hipster, but in denial.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:05 AM
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15 - True. There's a degree to which interesting is subjective, which is where the Heathers come in. An ability to pick out subtleties is worth cultivating, IMO. What's bad is the arbitrariness of picking certain subtle variations and deciding that they are sufficiently important that it's worth being mean to people over them. The recent silliness over the Obama girls inauguration day clothing is a case in point.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:06 AM
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True, but the ability to distinguish the nuances of three-chord songs by people who can't sing or play isn't a skill that travels anywhere.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:13 AM
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The recent silliness over the Obama girls inauguration day clothing is a case in point.

Did you see the lovely update at Phoebe's blog? Apparently if you think that was silliness, you are pretending to care about the suffering of the poor when in fact you are a rich lazy bastard. Or something like that; it didn't seem worth trying to figure out what the post was actually arguing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:14 AM
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I don't think you can be a hipster unless you interact with other hipsters socially. Just reading the same blogs they do doesn't cut it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:15 AM
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She seems unaware that I'm an impoverished proletarian retiree living in the Heartland.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:23 AM
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Hey, wait! The other thread is the Phoebe-goading thread.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:25 AM
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6: I was also disappointed by that piece, largely because I've been pondering that very question (viz. What is it that makes Billy Joel so distinctively sucky?) since I went to the dentist a couple weeks ago and, instead of a normal, innocuous blend of unenjoyable music, they were playing what must have been at least a double live disk of BJ.*

Here's the thing: the craftsmanship, as noted by JE, is undeniable (at least in some of the stuff); certain songs seem to me to be genuinely pretty good (as in, wouldn't be smirked at if done by anyone else); and people who like him - and there are a lot of them - really identify strongly with it. So it seems like there must be something there, and yet whatever is wrong with him completely blows away that something.

And I don't think Rosenbaum came close to identifying it. Or maybe he came close - Joel plays at being Everyman while actually sneering at everyone not himself - but then dumbed it down to the "phony" thing, which is hardly a rare flaw.

Is Billy Joel just Paul McCartney without Lennon - a significant talent with middlebrow tastes, middling intellect, and no one to make him better? With the added dysfunction of being from Long Island (like Amy Fisher, Joey Buttafuoco, and Bill O'Reilly).

* Did I mention this already? It was kind of incredible.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:34 AM
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Is Billy Joel just Paul McCartney without Lennon - a significant talent with middlebrow tastes, middling intellect, and no one to make him better?

I don't think that's really fair on McCartney. None of the Beatles really did shit all outside of the Beatles that compares with the work they did in the Beatles.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:37 AM
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I don't think that's really fair on McCartney.

Probably not, and to be clear, I'm not at all an anti-Paul snob. But I agree with the basic critique that, without a critical partner, he's far too prone to simply releasing whatever enormously-tuneful thing has come into his head. The latest Fireman thing is supposed to be excellent, presumably because of his collaboration - I doubt that the kid (can't recall his name) can say, "Paul, that's rubbish," but I bet he is able to push Paul to be a bit more self-critical.

Then there's the argument that he simply smokes too much pot.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:44 AM
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Then there's the argument that he simply smokes too much pot.

A good argument, possibly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:53 AM
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I heard it was all Linda McCartney's fault.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:02 AM
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Sally was recently exposed to "Help!" and "A Hard Day's Night" at a friends house, and then saw Paul on TV and was horrified that he was old. No particular point to this story, it was just funny: forty-five years later, he's still got pre-teen girls crushing on him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:07 AM
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I think I'm working toward a contrarian defense of Billy Joel, which would go something like this: Had Billy Joel not come along, his place in pop music would have been occupied by someone more pernicious and useless. I have been known to defend Sheryl Crow on these grounds, comparing her favorably to Paula Abdul.

As I said, Rosenbaum gets "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" completely wrong, which is especially odd because it arguably fits his template of "hypocritical phony skewering other phonies." I propose, however, that B. Joel is being self-deprecating and self-aware, explicitly mocking pretension from any popular entertainer, including himself. The song is pretty much entirely composed of lines like this:

Don't you know about the new fashion, honey? All you need are looks and a whole lot of money.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:12 AM
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No particular point to this story, it was just funny: forty-five years later, he's still got pre-teen girls crushing on him.

When A Hard Day's Night was shown at doc films four or so years ago, the girls in the audience were screaming for John. Of course, theirs were no innocent eyes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:17 AM
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then saw Paul on TV and was horrified that he was old

Yeah, he made it to almost 60 still looking great, but last time I saw him he looked hideous. Oh well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:19 AM
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There's a particular sort of bad aging that happens to men who look boyish into middle age -- they look very young for a long time, and then look like Dorian Gray's portrait. McCartney's one, Robert Redford had the same sort of thing happen to him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:21 AM
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Which brings me to Billy Joel--the Andrew Wyeth of contemporary pop music

This makes no sense, and the sense it attempts to make is wrong.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:23 AM
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I think I'm working toward a contrarian defense of Billy Joel

I'm always tempted to champion anything that Denis Dutton and Ron Rosenbaum suggest I should dislike.

Actually, as American album-oriented rock went in 1976, Turnstiles wasn't that much worse than most. And if he'd dropped dead in '77, it'd be a classic. Joel isn't bad because he was contemptuous of the people he wrote about, he's bad (largely) because he couldn't tell when his Long Island Guy shtick was played out.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:43 AM
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Yeah, I sort of wonder if there's something wrong (like masturbating to the dead) with crushing on the forty-years-ago version of someone who is still alive. In fact, I'm inclined to think there's less wrong with masturbating to the dead than with masturbating to the younger self of an alive person.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:51 AM
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Also, Rosenbaum doesn't even mention Joel's greatest crime, the fittingly-titled classical pastiche Fantasies and Delusions.

Sensing that the audience was restless during "Innamorato," a number that Joel had described as "romantic," he got up from his bench and began humping the keyboard to demonstrate while Joo played on.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:55 AM
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35: Keats covered this, I think. You masturbate to perfect timeless forms, for example photographs, not to actualities or particulars.

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

This would justify masturbating to dead people, too, but not AFAIK to dead ancestors. (My grandmothers and all of their sisters were lovely in their time, but fortunately they did not pose nude, so the question is moot.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:10 AM
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OTOH, if you are one of the people who always hears about new stuff before everyone else, you probably are a hipster, but in denial.

I resolutely hear about new stuff after everyone else.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:39 AM
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12, 15, 16, ff: My enlightment from hipsters came when a fairly nice one explained that he couldn't still like Shaker design, even though it met all his stated criteria, because he knew too many people who had liked it. He could distinguish good from bad but not act on the distinction...


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:46 AM
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You masturbate to perfect timeless forms


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:47 AM
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I've always wanted to be able to masturbate to the five platonic solids, or maybe abstract expressionist art. It seems like a fun paraphilia to have.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:30 PM
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chuck klosterman's article on billy joel is pretty good:

''He just doesn't get it,'' Robert Christgau tells me over the telephone. ''The person I compare Billy Joel to is Irving Berlin; that's the positive side of what he does. But Billy Joel also has a grandiosity that Irving Berlin never got near. That's what's wrong with him. If he wanted to be a humble tunesmith -- a 'piano man,' if you will -- he would be a lot better off. But he's not content with that. He wants something grander. And that pretentious side infects not only his bad and mediocre work, but also his best work.''


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:38 PM
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From the sound of that article, Billy Joel needs an intensive year or so with a really smart therapist.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:07 PM
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i remember i cried once listening to The longest time almost 10 yrs ago
and i generally like all his songs


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:17 PM
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So why is Slate hating on Billy Joel all of a sudden? Is there some revival going on or something? Because it feels a bit like suddenly declaring your undying hatred of Christopher Cross.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:28 AM
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I worry if hating on Billy Joel is contrarian enough for Slate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:30 AM
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Oh. Say, Sifu, did somebody just get embarrassingly pwned?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:32 AM
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declaring your undying hatred of Christopher Cross

I've loathed that fat fuck ever since he killed my father.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:39 AM
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None of the Beatles really did shit all outside of the Beatles that compares with the work they did in the Beatles.

Don't think this is true at all - "Plastic Ono Band" is an excellent album and so is "Travelling Wilburys". Also, although Ringo Starr's solo albums were appalling, you have to remember he did fuck-all in the Beatles too.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:50 AM
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Ringo Starr's solo albums were appalling, you have to remember he did fuck-all in the Beatles too.

As a drummer, I struggle with many Beatles fans to explain this point. He was a fucking piss-poor drummer, so much that later in life, talking to toy tank engines made him seem talented.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:56 AM
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Ringo is a phenomenal songwriter.

Also, Rivers Cuomo is a fucking twit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:59 AM
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My opinions on drummers should probably be held suspect. Tony Williams: flash-in-the-pan inventive and a cocky fuck, to boot, to an extent that makes him annoying. John Bonham: played with tree trunks and hit too hard with little technique.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:05 AM
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SO who are the good drummers, Stanley? That Blakey fellow?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:07 AM
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53: This is kind of like that "who is your hero?" question. I kind of think everyone sucks in some way, myself included.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:10 AM
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Neil Peart might be flawless, but he's Canadian, so, you know, that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:12 AM
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Yeah, there's the whole being-in-Rush thing. But on the other hand, being-in-Rush mixed with heavily-sampled-by-early-hip-hop points to genius.

It's all so complicated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:14 AM
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Travis Barker, of Blink-182 fame, also comes to mind. Seriously good technique and attention to detail. I'd include him in my top five. That guy's seriously good, but then you have douchiness, so that sucks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:16 AM
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I'd add local fave Robert Jospé and Alkaline Trio drummer Derek Grant to any list of good drummers. Drummers are an afterthought and a downtrodden people themselves. Our history and legacy is a sad and sordid tale.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:29 AM
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Tony Allen?

Billy Cobham?

Dude. Billy Cobham. C'mon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:36 AM
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Then there's Lenny White, of course, but I think he's overrated.

But Chico!

Chico Hamilton. Gotta love Chico.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:40 AM
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59: Those pixels on a screen mean nothing to me, dear Sifu. Perhaps you've never learned that the tragic fact of drummers is, my oh my, they just can't read, man.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:40 AM
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What is it with really great drummers being associated with music that sort of ultra-music-nerdy-y? Is Tony Allen the only drummer to escape such fate?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:40 AM
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Hamilton released Foreststorn in 2001 featuring Euphoria with... special guest appearances from... former Spin Doctors guitarist Eric Schenkman (a student of Chico's), Blues Traveler front man John Popper (also a student of Chico's), and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones.

What a drag it is being Chico. But boy you just can't beat the Big Blue Marble theme.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:44 AM
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The super-good drummers end up playing marimba with four mallets in hand. It's a niche. And super-hard. They end up teaching band class, AFAIK.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:46 AM
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64: That's enough "end up" that I need to go to bed. Good night, Sifu, and future internet readers! Tip your vibraphonist. She or he is probably really good.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:52 AM
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The best drummers I've seen:

Sebastian Roachford [of innumerable -- but mostly actually really fucking good --- jazz-hipster-punk bands]

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1dqr1W-4-Wo [Acoustic Ladyland, whose stuff varies from straight-ahead cool jazz to this punkier/thrashier stuff]

Marc Mondesir [London jazz/session beast. Plays with everyone from Glen Hughes - the Deep Purple guy -- to Jeff Beck -- to McLaughlin -- to all kinds of obscure jazzers.]

Both of whom were just awesome. Mondesir, I saw with a jazz quartet nearly 20 years ago and even as a non-drummer his playing just leapt out.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:47 AM
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Mondesir is very good, I agree. I saw him with Julian Joseph at a festival a few years ago, and later the same night they sat in with Claire Martin after half her band got stuck in a traffic jam. Played a whole set at sight, and they were amazing.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:04 AM
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re: 67

Yeah, I saw him with Joseph. When Joseph's first album came out [about 1990, 1991?].

Tommy Smith was sitting at the next table taking notes. And then, when I saw Smith on his next tour, guess who he had on drums ...?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:07 AM
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Tommy Smith's current drummer isn't bad either:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DNWXCiwl8Dk&feature=related [solo drum sound-check]

With Smith:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wuf-U1SDuWw


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:09 AM
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Drummer I went to college with* actually likes Joel's longtime touring drummer, Liberty DeVitto, quite a bit.

* Who does not have cheesy tastes.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:50 AM
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Chad Wackerman, who drummed for Frank Zappa's mid-80's bands, is pretty awesome. I also have trouble separating really good drummers from decent drummers who found an engineer who knows how to mic drums properly, which is rare. For instance, the original Smashing Pumpkins drummer sounds amazing to me on the first two albums, but I think that may just be as much or more Butch Vig's accomplishment as Jimmy Chamberlin's.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:01 AM
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re: 71

Yeah. Grohl on the QoTSA album is the same, I think. Hard to separate his sound from his playing. It's mighty, anyway.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:07 AM
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I worry if hating on Billy Joel is contrarian enough for Slate.

Amongst Jews, hating on Billy Joel is a courageous act of defiance.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:31 AM
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Clem Burke.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:39 AM
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* * * Threadjack for a good cause * * *

Dear Mineshaft,

You can help me make a decision with potentially momentous consequences for the future mental well-being of my children.

You see, I have been reading Jock of the Bushveld to the Ruprecht girls, ages almost-five and six-and-a-bit.

Tonight is the night I will read them the final chapter, in which the canine protagonist is accidentally shot dead in a tragic case of mistaken identity.

Fleur suggests that I invent an alternative ending in which Jock survives and goes to live on a farm with a nice family or something.

So, do I remain true to the author's intent, and confront my young'uns with the harsh reality of life and death? Or do I spare their tender feelings and invent a sugar-coated version of the truth? Should I prefer that they tell their future therapists how I told them tales of violence and cruelty before they were prepared for them, or how I cossetted them and left them unprepared to face the harsh world on their own?

And if the decision is the latter, what sugar-coated ending should I tell them?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:40 AM
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what sugar-coated ending should I tell them?

Tell them that his kinsfolk avenged his death by chewing out the throats of the shooter's entire family. That way it ends on a happy note.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:42 AM
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Further to 74, I saw the Stone Roses during Madchester, and Reni was just totally amazing.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:44 AM
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75: How sensitive are they to Bambi's-mom-type deaths? I have no idea what you should do as a parent, but as a five-year-old, I personally would have wanted to be lied to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:44 AM
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As a drummer, I struggle with many Beatles fans to explain this point. He was a fucking piss-poor drummer

Stanley: Ringo was a piss-poor drummer...
Beatles Fan: Yeah, I've heard that.
S: as was John Bonham.
BF: Uhhh...
S: Really, the only good ones are the guy from Rush and some people I know from Austin.
BF: [Edges away]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:45 AM
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76 is optimal, but I definitely wouldn't leave out the death. But then, our dog - whose name was Iris' first word - died shortly before her 2nd birthday, and we went to her great-grandfather's funeral when she was 3, so death isn't a completely abstract concept around here.

Honestly, your younger girl is exactly Iris' age, and I wouldn't sugarcoat it for her (maybe leave out any gore*). I mean, there will be tears, and a lot of questions, but that's life, isn't it?

* This has been my compromise with reading the Iliad to her - she doesn't need to hear how Odysseus gutted Minor Trojan X from crotch to sternum. "Speared" seems adequate.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:51 AM
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what sugar-coated ending should I tell them?

The dog was shot dead, but tasted delicious. And everybody (else) lived happily ever after.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:51 AM
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How sensitive are they to Bambi's-mom-type deaths?

Not sure. They've already heard the part where Jock's mother dies, and where Jim Makokel the Zulu ox-driver gets brutally flogged by a corrupt local official (which official subsequently dies of thirst on the Bushveld), so it's not like they've been spared the unsavory parts of the book so far.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:55 AM
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I sympathise with Fleur, but honestly I'm not sure it's possible. You'd have to write out your alternative ending and tape it in the book, to avoid, "Daddy, why have you stopped reading and started improvising rather desperately?" And I'd guess there's a real possibility the older kid at least would look at the book and figure it out.

I think you'll have to do it the hard way. I saw Bambi at about that age, and I'm sure I was able to sleep again by the end of the following week.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:59 AM
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I've been really enjoying the drumming of Amy Farina, of The Evens.

All of my favorite drummers are the ones who can contribute something to the *song*. Drummers like Peart don't register for me, because there is nothing good that they contribute to.

I love the way Janet Weiss changed her style around for the last Sleater Kinney album. She was really integral for the shift in their style at the end.

Todd Trainer of Shellac is another really good drummer who benefits a lot from how his sound is recorded.

I don't imagine that a real drummer like Stanley will agree with any of this.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:00 AM
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Knecht:

Put Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on the list to read to them next.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:08 AM
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I don't see how one could be argued out of affection for Billy Joel. You either a) have it, b) pretend not to have it but really have it, or c) don't have it. I moved from a) to b) and back to a), although hearing it accidentally here and there is enough for me.

Emerson and read are correct above. As is the Christgau. There is something between Billy Joel and Greatness, and he's damned especially by his awareness of it.

When I was in high school, Billy Joel made for especially good parodies. "Uptown Girl" became "Elima Girl", an ode to the puberty ritual of the Ituri rain forest pygmies. Our anthropology teacher was suitably bemused.

CONFIDENTIAL TO STANLEY: yes, it's a very long honeymoon.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:09 AM
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Also: I eagerly await Rick Rubin's application of the Johnny Cash/Neil Diamond treatment to Billy Joel.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:14 AM
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what sugar-coated ending should I tell them?

Nelson Mandela is passing in a Rolls Royce and sees him lying injured and rushes him to an animal hospital. When he gets better he goes to live with the Mandelas as an assistance animal.

Meanwhile his white owners pack in looking for him after twenty minutes and go home to drink gin and tonic.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:15 AM
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74 seconded. I think it's always worth putting a word in for Burke, a good drummer who was not (generally) recorded well.

What's the general opinion about Ginger Baker?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:18 AM
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74. OK but not as good as Bill Bruford?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:21 AM
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Nelson Mandela is passing in a Rolls Royce and sees him lying injured and rushes him to an animal hospital. When he gets better he goes to live with the Mandelas as an assistance animal. Meanwhile his white owners pack in looking for him after twenty minutes and go home to drink gin and tonic.

OFE, it's hardly in the spirit of this exercise to simply recite the plot of the 1995 movie version.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:21 AM
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I find there's almost always more going on in Stewart Copeland's drumming than I notice on the first listen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:34 AM
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Ginger Baker put out an eminently forgettable album as "Masters of the Universe" that I have not forgotten. There's a silly song about making tea correctly, and another one about an ant. I can safely say that the drumming stands out as being good.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:36 AM
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75: No more mollycoddling of the tots, says I. Invent a more brutal version wherein Jock is hacked to death by a mob for accidentally eating an infant.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:43 AM
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Mickey Hart is a visionary among drummers.

Explain to the kids that the alternative to a meaningless death in the prime of life is a middle age where you watch your own body, mind, and spirit gradually decay as your friends and relatives begin to sicken and die. Any hope for continued vitality would come from risk-taking made impossible by family obligations, so if you are lucky, you are slowly destroyed by the very people you love. Jock was lucky.

Or maybe wait a few years for that lecture. Good morning to all.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:59 AM
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75: I've never heard of Jock of the Bushveld, but clearly it's too adult for children young enough to be read to. Start telling them classic children's stories. You know, like Grimm's fairy tales.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:05 AM
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94: As long as you are doing the reading thing, à la The Princess Bride you should probably tell it as written. And then really pile it on; Old Yeller next, then maybe Animal Farm (Boxer! ...sob), and finish them off it up with Of Mice and Men.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:08 AM
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Don't forget Bridge To Terabithia and My Girl. Why oh why do the spunky ones always have to be allergic to bees???


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:11 AM
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But there's also plenty of positive depictions of bees' interactions with young girls out there..."Akeelah and the Bee", "Bee Season", "The Secret Life of Bees", just in the last three or four years.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:13 AM
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When my class read "The Bridge to Terabithia", the teacher, and therefore every student, pronounced it as "Terabinthia". A couple years later I looked at the cover and stared in astonishment to realize that there actually was no N in the word. Was this true of all the other copies of the book too? And all the mentions of the word in the text? Yes! Unbelievable.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:14 AM
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There is only one b in Terabithia.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:16 AM
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But christ, what a bitch she is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:16 AM
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Having fun heebie?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:17 AM
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99: And this video.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:19 AM
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Having fun heebie?

That little chick deserved what she had coming to her.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:22 AM
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100: I had a teacher who insisted the correct pronunciation of "Knossos" was "Chronos".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:23 AM
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Invent a more brutal version wherein Jock is hacked to death by a mob for accidentally eating an infant

that's my fucking culture you're talking about mate

In unrelated news, Mike Chapman wrote some very interesting liner notes about recording Clem Burke on the Parallel Lines reissue - basically, the issue was simply that it was next to impossible to fit him into a mix because he was nearly incapable of stopping himself from thrashing around and sticking to the plan. In the end, Chapman just gave up, as you can hear on "Dreaming", which is more or less just a drum solo throughout.

Burke is also enough of a mensch to make the point that Johnny Ramone was, in fact, a bit of an arsehole.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:29 AM
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The two sad stories that I remember having making an impact on me as a kid (pre-reading) were having my parents read me "the wounded wolf" from Cricket magazine, and a recorded version of "The Trumpeter of Krakow" (the Polish legand, not the book).

As a young reader I remember Tuck Everlasting as sad but also reassuring in ways. But I was crushed when I read about the death of Robin Hood.

Clearly I am moved by heroic sacrifice.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:30 AM
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Of Bridge to Terabithia, my niece (5 at the time) sighed and said "I think that's the saddest movie I've ever seen."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:34 AM
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What about The Red Pony? The pony dying slowly as its last breaths bubbled out through the improvised tracheostomy bothered the heck out of me as a kid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:37 AM
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For school my kids all had to read (and mocked! the little unfeeling shits), A Taste of Blackberries. But that book starts moving us into A Separate Peace territory where we have been before (during a class discussion of which I gained negative points with the teacher due to an offhand comment that of course we've all "jounced* the branch" at one time or another and it is no biggie).

*Remembered by me as "bounced", but corrected by Cala on a thread here some months back.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:39 AM
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A propos of that, am I the only person who thought that Gatica was strcturally quite similar to A Separate Peace?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:41 AM
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If you really want to make your children cry, you could read them the Rolling Stone review of "AutoAmerican".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:43 AM
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100: I had a teacher who insisted the correct pronunciation of "Knossos" was "Chronos".

This is making my head hurt.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 9:32 AM
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But I was crushed when I read about the death of Robin Hood.

Wait, what?

Holy shit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 9:33 AM
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Groping towards an answer for KR, I'll add this anecdatum: when I was around four years old, my mom timed a bathroom break to skip the dinosaurs dying in Fantasia. When I caught wind of this censorship, a couple years later, I was livid. In hindsight, she probably played the cards right.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 9:38 AM
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Wait, what?

Holy shit.

Should I have said that I was crushed when I read the story of the death of Robin Hood. That he died, at some point, wouldn't have been surprising. The betrayal was.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 10:04 AM
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Late, but IMO kids need to know their parents can be relied on to play straight with them a hell of a lot more than they need to be protected from awareness of tragedy.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:28 PM
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I like the drums on "Tomorrow Never Knows":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CMdqWh_J8I&feature=related


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:00 PM
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but IMO kids need to know their parents can be relied on to play straight with them a hell of a lot more than they need to be protected from awareness of tragedy.

I agree with this. But there's still the question of how much to introduce, and how, and why, and when. Some fictionalized representations of tragedy are much more disturbing than would be a brief, matter-of-fact account of the same tragedy, I think.

I'm a firm advocate of introducing even very young children to the reality of animal and human mortality (no, your pet bird didn't "go to sleep," the birdie died). But I wouldn't give a 5-year old a sad story about a dead bird just to not protect her against the reality of bird mortality. Not that you're suggesting this, of course, but there are some themes/issues/problems that you really don't have to introduce, until the time comes that you do.

I dunno. In terms of books/movies/etc, my son can seem almost shockingly desensitized to some of the stuff that adults tend to worry about. But then he'll pick up on something that it wouldn't even have occurred to me was an anxiety point, and start obsessing about it, and tell me that it gives him "bad dreams."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:47 PM
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