26 September 2009

If This Was 1970...

...We'd be at a certain macabre midpoint. On the morning of 18 September, Jimi Hendrix died of asphyxiation in London and in eight more days, on 4 October, Janis Joplin will be found dead in her hotel room of a heroin overdose.

...Marc Bolan would be about to celebrate his 23rd birthday on the 30th. The following July, he and his band T-Rex would release their most famous song, "Get It On (Bangagong)." Sadly, Bolan will never live to see age 30. He'll die two weeks before that milestone on 16 Septemeber 1977 in a car accident.

...John Bonham would have exactly 10 more years to live. His passing will be similar to Hendrix's, but instead of wine and sleeping pills, the main culprit is the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka.

14 September 2009

And the point of the VMAs is...?

OK, wow...

I didn't watch the MTV Video Music Awards last night because I don't have cable but I sure as hell heard about them this morning. I've read a lot of stuff on the internet about the Kanye/Taylor incident and a lot of folks think it was staged by Kanye (he wanted attention, per usual) and/or MTV ('cause MTV sucks) and/or Beyonce (resoundingly good PR move and the positive press that goes with it) and/or NBC (Jay Leno's show debuts tonight and the musical guests are Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye). And virtually no one thinks that Taylor Swift was in on it. In fact, the sentiment I read more than once in comments posted on various websites was that if she knew about it, then young Ms. Swift is in the wrong profession because she deserves an Oscar. This is a backstage/audience pit account of last night's Video Music Awards. It says, among other things (look for the Lisa Marie Presley tidbit), that Taylor Swift started to cry and some of the MTV execs came out and escorted her offstage.

Clearly not in on it.

And People.com is reporting that Beyonce's dad helped comfort Swift backstage and arranged for Beyonce to step aside later in the evening to let the young winner finish her speech. I guess that explains why the girl was told to standby backstage but no one would tell her why. Of course, others would say that's further evidence of a setup so I guess the staged/spontaneous asshole moment debate is still ongoing...

As for some people who are taking it as a racial thing, I don't think it's a black/white issue at all. For me, it's more about a 32-year-old drunk-ass baby humiliating a heretofore scandal-free 19-year-old girl on live television in front of millions of people. Or as Katy Perry put it when she dissed West on her blog," IT'S LIKE U STEPPED ON A KITTEN." Kudos to Taylor for pulling herself together and singing soon after the incident, to Pink for wanting to beat the shit out of 'Ye, and to the security for throwing dude's drunk ass out the building.

PS I'm watching Jay's show right now. One of his first jokes was that Obama is organizing a root beer summit between Kanye and Taylor Swift. Heh. And to that end, someone has pieced together this:

UPDATE: If you didn't see Jay's show, Leno briefly interviewed Kanye before he performed. Jay said something to the effect of,"I had the good fortune to meet your mom. What do you think she'd say if she were here?" And there was a really, really long pause and 'Ye rubbed his face like he was trying to keep from crying. Jay touched his kneecap and prompted, speaking more softly," Do you think she'd be disappointed?" The answer was affirmative. West also said that he was sorry that his pain caused someone else pain as he never took any time off after his mother's death; he said he'll take that time off soon and that he'd like to apologize to Taylor Swift in person. As for when he realized he was in the wrong at the VMAs, he replied,"When I gave the mic back to her and she didn't keep talking."

And hey! This is off topic but I think I can answer my own question,"And the point of the VMAs is...?" Apparently it's to bring Jennifer Lopez together with her various men. Check it out: she was there with husband Marc Anthony, former lover Sean Combs was a presenter, and one of her previous spouses, Cris Judd, danced with Janet Jackson. Can you imagine the four of them backstage together? Now that's a collision I would love to have seen!

08 September 2009

The Beatles are coming, the Beatles are coming!

Holy chocolate Jesus on a whole wheat cracker! Tomorrow is gonna be HUGE! Not only are the Beatles releasing a box set of the remastered stereo versions of all of their albums (as well as a smaller set of redone mono versions) but their edition of the Rock Band video game comes out tomorrow as well. Even though I can't afford to buy the box sets right now (I could buy each CD individually but...ehhh), I'm still pretty excited. I've been a fan of the Fab Four for nearly twenty years. One of my friends in middle school, Brooke, turned me on to them. At the time, I only knew "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Love Me Do" so I had written them off as some super-cheesy boy band. She gave me copies of both Past Masters collections as well as The White Album and some solo John Lennon. And I was hooked. To return the favor, I got her to listen to Hendrix (she thought all he did was play loudly until I played "May This Be Love" for her). I still consider it to be an even trade.

Here's a post of "Revolution 9" from the album The Beatles (more commonly known as The White Album). Honestly, this is not one of my favorites; I haven't listened to it in years, in fact. But one could definitely describe it as different. And it helps explain the significance of everything being released on 09/09/09 tomorrow. Plus, if you check out the related video of "Revolution 9" played backwards, you can hear Lennon repeatedly saying, "Turn me on, dead man," which was considered a major "clue" in the the whole "Paul is dead conspiracy."

And here is an extraordinarily in depth article about the Rock band video game that was published in the NY Times magazine last month. I have to admit, since my favorite Beatle is Ringo, my favorite part of the article is the writer's assertion that because of this game, more people will better appreciate the drummer's often complex percussive contributions. Finally! Some respect for Richie!

Here are two reviews of the remastered box sets, one from Dave McCoy of MSN music and this one from NPR, which has more of a Beatles-nerd vibe that I completely related to.

If you are hesitant about giving more money to the Fab Four (and Michael Jackson's estate, incidentally) but you're still curious about the music, at least check out Geoff Emerick's book Here, There and Everywhere. Emerick was a recording engineer at EMI Records who worked with the group from 1962 on up through the last album they recorded, Abbey Road. He gives the lowdown about how the albums were recorded and includes insight on the four as individuals and as bandmates and just how much Yoko Ono's presence disrupted the chemistry and balance of the group (look in the index under Ono's name and go to the "digestive biscuit incident" for a particularly vivid account). Emerick also touches on working with Wings and Elvis Costello (who wrote the foreword) as well as on the deaths of John Lennon, Linda McCartney, Brian Epstein, and Beatles assistant Mal Evans. (If you've ever seen the movie Help!, Evans is the swimmer who keeps popping up throughout the film.) My first read-through took me less than 2 days and it's nearly 400 pages! If you're a Beatles fan or just an appreciative music fan, you definitely won't be disappointed; it's truly a fascinating read.