If you're a regular reader and familiar with the continuing TVD narrative, you were witness to a brimming over with disgust last week for about 97% of the artists and bands that are pimped daily by Pitchfork and Stereogum respectively. It depresses me to no end to think that the kids coming up today will have a generation of half-baked bands or pseudo-talents to recall as their collective 'first's.
It depresses me even MORE however, to be referring to the 'kids these days' as it seems I was one of 'em just an hour ago. But to hell with it - I'll embrace it in a new TVD feature: Angry Old Man, wherein we attempt to re-raise the bar that has been dropped precariously low over the past say...ten years. (I could go back even farther, but alas, I'm no spring chicken and time's a-wastin'...)
In the summer summer of '76 I was a whopping NINE years old and one of my best buddies was my pal Nick who, if I recall correctly, was two or three years older than me--a whopping 11 or 12. Nick had this odd set up for a bedroom in his home as his parents, brother and sister all had their bedrooms upstairs while Nick had a precursor to Baby's First Bachelor Pad with his bedroom on the ground level and the ability to come and go as he pleased. This totally blew my mind up - the FREEDOM, I'd think often. Nick was also in possession of more than a few cigarettes and Playboy magazines which solidified his rep, at least in my eyes, as one cool kid. My folks weren't similarly convinced.
It was that summer when one late afternoon I found myself sitting in Nick's disorderly downstairs and the kid put a copy of KISS "Destroyer" in my hands and dropped the needle onto Track One -- "Detroit Rock City". The sound effects, the radio in the diner with its subtle build up into the song knocked me the hell over. Like the jazz standard I recall thinking, "how long has this been going ON?" I was transfixed to say the very least. Grabbed around the neck and THROTTLED was more like it.
A tiny bit later it was like I was taken out to the playground and given a serious rock schooling as Sweet's "Fox on the Run" drilled its candy confection into my cranium. Another good friend Carol had an older sister who introduced her, then us, to BOWIE. We'd sit in Carol's room among her doll collection and listen to "Space Oddity" over and over with the drapes shut tight. Then Alice Cooper...imagine - Alice is a GUY. No waaaaay. And "Bohemian Rhapsody" ...one of my very first 45's b/w "I'm In Love With My Car," a Roger Taylor composition that got as much play as the operatic A side which even my folks found oddly compelling for all of its classical music strains.
So, what's the point you ask? You were NINE. Where's the tie in with the Pitchgummers?
Well, inherently, THAT's my first point. That 'something' is missing. That stomach-twisting, chill inducing 'otherness' is all but nonexistent this morning and most mornings on the Pitch/Gum frontpages. Ask yourself - is anything reaching through the monitor and sending your life into an upswirl? You needn't be nine to be simply excited and enraptured, and a whole generation is knobbing at the teet which isn't even delivering this one, BASIC nutrient. The ONE ingredient careers are built and sustained upon. (U2, anyone?) Really, if I'm thinking through mathematical progressions to get to the center of your Protools lollypop, you're doing it all wrong.
Rule #1: Engage us.
Sweet - Fox On The Run (Mp3)
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Mp3)
David Bowie - Space Oddity (Mp3)
Alice Cooper - No More Mister Nice Guy (Mp3)
KISS - Detroit Rock City (Mp3)