Monday, September 29, 2008
"Hi. I'm Peter. And I'm cooler than you think.": THE MONDAY MORNING RANT
I believe it was either Teddy Roosevelt or the great Huey Lewis who said, "It's hip to be square."
I've been thinking about "cool" and "hip" a lot lately. I first touched upon that subject, "What Is Hip," a few weeks ago in a Huffington Post piece HERE, when I reviewed three CDs that would no doubt be left off of most twenty-somethings' iPods. The editor of a certain music magazine saw the piece and was not impressed. Was this because the writing was not up to his standards? That is entirely possible. I never claimed to be the next Kitty Kelly. But, my self-esteem came a'knockin', so there had to be another reason for leaving an editor less than amused. (Monty, I will go with what's behind curtain #2.) The editor was in his late twenties and had no clue who I was writing about.
Most people that I talk to over the age of 40 have heard of, listen to, and enjoy The White Stripes, Coldplay, Metallica, Duffy, The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs, blah blah BLAH blah BLAAAAAH! Yet, most people under the age of 30 have no idea about Irma Thomas, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, The Move, Moby Grape, Todd Rundgren, Al Kooper, The Raspberries. The Young Rascals, Randy Newman, blah blah BLAH blah BLAAAAAAH!
That is NOT cool. That is NOT hip.
The specific incident that got me all sweaty regarding "cool & hip," was the unabashed pleasure of listening to a Peter Frampton CD this weekend. No, it wasn't "Frampton Comes Alive," the "ironic" choice of TV On The Radio-listening hipsters. It was "Where I Should Be," the 1979 release which featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, and the Tower Of Power of horns. It is a great lost soul record.
My frustration isn't simply a matter of "How can Bill like bananas better than kumquats?" It's much deeper. The music industry is just a few bonehead moves away from digging itself so deep in the hole, it may soon reach China. So is buying a Peter Frampton CD going to save the world? Of course not. But as long the industry continues to cater to the people who have more interest in downloading ringtones and NOT the older, one-time record buying regulars who kept the business afloat for so long, few will realize that the veterans of rock, soul, and blues continue to make new music. Good new music that deserves some better attention than a contemptuous snort from some Deerhunter fan.
Irma Thomas, Taj Mahal, and Maria Muldaur just released excellent new records, and new ones are on the way from Todd Rundgren, Al Kooper, and The Pretenders. How about some real coverage and real airplay?
Can't we all just get along?