Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Get a Handel. Don't Bach Down. Drown Your Sorrow and Greig. Alright, I'll Stop...

Anyone that knows me knows that no one on earth can bring me more joy than my idol, Stephen Fry. Miraculously, Chrissy somehow retained the copy of Moab is My Washpot that I loaned her some 4 years ago and it was recently brought back to me, along with two other Stephen Fry books. But the delivery of these books has come at an eerily opportune time.

A debate, nay, a dialogue has begun between some friends and I. The origin of this dialogue was when I repeatedly said that I just don’t care about music anymore. This was a hyperbole on my part. Let me clarify. I love music. I always will. I cannot rid myself of liking music entirely. When I say I don’t care about music anymore, I should make sure to do air finger quotes. I don’t care about “music” anymore. Meaning that, after many years of being a faithful concertgoer, music journalist and doing marketing and PR work in the music industry, I don’t care about finding new music anymore. I most certainly do not feel compelled to go to concerts. I have beaten Alan Levy at music trivia the Barley House so I don’t feel like maybe I just don’t know enough about music. If anything, working for 8 hours a day around comic book collectors has made me keenly aware of the benefits of not correcting someone when they say that Steve Jones was the guitarist in Generation X when he only played on a few tracks on the final Generation X album which happened to include “Dancing With Myself”. The actual guitarist was Mike Derwood who also recorded a one-off single called “All These Things” under the name Empire, which sounds suspiciously like The Stone Roses eight years before The Stone Roses existed. Then after Generation X broke up, Derwood went on to form Westworld (named after the camp movie) who released a couple of albums in the late 80’s. You know, while Generation X bassist Tony James had hits with his band, Sigue Sigue Sputnik. I can go on.

See, no one needs that. No one really would enjoy having to sit through that beating of a conversation. I like what I like. I would dare say that 95% of the things I listen to came out before 1991. The 90’s were a musical beating for me. I despised and still despise grunge. I listened to The Beatles from 1991 to 1996. Things were great. But I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm to seek out whatever the kids are listening to. I don’t mean The Jonas Brothers. I mean that I can’t work myself up about whatever band from Brooklyn that people 2 years younger than me adore. I can’t keep my Vampire Weekends separate from my Cut Copys. I really liked Chromeo three years ago. They have not changed at all and yet I saw them on TV the other night and just kept thinking, “Hey it’s Chromeo. His brother is Kanye’s DJ. I wonder where he got that sweater. I need to get my sweaters out of that box in the back of my closet. I wonder if I still have that red sweater or if I gave it away. I think it had a hole in it. That was a good sweater.”

So it would appear that I have given up, right? Turned my back on any form of composition consisting of arranging notes in a melodic fashion and with a varied tempo, right? But here’s the thing. I have regressed. You see, my wonderful gay uncle is an opera singer. He has traveled the world and received his doctorate in music and sung at some of the most famous opera houses and concert halls in the world. And when I was a kid, one of the perks of this was that though we were poor, we got to go to the Dallas Opera for free all of the time. I remember one of the coolest things I ever did when I was a kid was, after a performance of Turandot, I got to run amok on the set. I got to stand in the huge pearl in the dragon’s claw. And all of the confetti that rained down during the final scene were actually pink paper hearts which I stuffed into every pocket I had. It may seem weird but going to the opera or the symphony was thrilling to me when I was a kid. Admittedly, part of that was probably because of the fact that I got to play on the sets and around all the costumes and watch the warm up in the orchestra pit.

But recently some sort of regression has happened and luckily it doesn’t involve me eating cat food and raw hamburger meat like I did when I was little. I listen to The Ticket but there are certain shows that just aren’t for me. So I started listening to WRR about 8 months ago. And gradually, it has nudged The Ticket out of my Preference 1 spot. It kind of feels weird though because I feel like I can’t talk about it too openly. I am afraid I will be accused of trying to be pretentious or trying to make a statement. But I genuinely get excited about a Maria Callas rock block or a Greig piece like I used to get juiced about a new DFA joint. And it’s made me kind of sad that classical music is seen as being the musical equivalent of that Icy Hot smell. It’s all moth balls and hold music to the kids these days. Granted, I would rather their worldly knowledge begin with things like being able to point to Africa on a map. I just miss the symphony and the opera and getting dressed up and the smell of heavy-handed dousings of Oscar de la Renta meshing with old velvet coats.

Just never make me sit through all 4 ½ hours of Die Valkyrie ever again, ok?


Carolyn said...

Youre a really great writer, love your blog

Richard Hertz said...

AMANDA, i totally agree - for the most part, the 90's were the worst decade for music. The often lambasted 70s were a sonic paradise compared to the 90s. Grunge was a joke, Pearl Jam is only slightly less over-rated than Nirvana, which was sold as some kind of revolutionary 'incendiary' punk offspring band to the sad frat and sorority crowd who didnt know of all the great bands that just werent on MTV.. 9 Inch Nails? A dwarf-fronted shopping mall disco-industrial (complete with faux angst and tantrums) rip-off of bands like Killing Joke who were doing it in the 70s, but SO MUCH better.. Tool? U must be joking. Prog rock for the Lollapalooza set and 5 stringed bass players.
The list goes on and on..

If you blog readers disagree it doesnt matter, because you just dont UNDERSTAND something so simple as rock n roll. The joke is on you :)