Many years ago, I was the same amiable zany I am now, but with a few less issues in my magazine rack. (And maybe I was cuter.) As I got older, wiser, fatter and shorter, I learned stuff.
Among my revelations:
Charlie Parker is not a hack.
Andrew "Dice" Clay is not funny.
It is the same time in Ohio as it is in New York.
Jersey deserves all the jokes, but it is still not as bad as Staten Island.
Madonna is a bad actress, but Theresa Russell is worse.
There is no such thing as band comraderie.
The people of New Orleans deserve better.
I still hate A-Rod.
I hate Starbucks even more.
Mr. Nunzabello is a totally acceptable alternate to my name, depending on who says it and how.
And my tolerance for music snobs has become lower than a road.
I had a crap week. Wait. I've had a crap 2009, but this weekend really sucked the life out of me like a brand new Hoover and it was capped off not just by the New York Jets and the worst fake field goal I have ever witnessed, but by a certain commercial running 3-4 times during the broadcast. It's from our "good neighbors" at State Farm Insurance.
Here. Take a look.
Why is it a "guilty pleasure" to like "Point Of Know Return" by Kansas? A song with enough hooks to snag a flounder, great vocals, and that killer "debba dooba dooba, debba dooba dooba" keyboard riff, all clocking in at 3:09? How many of YOU can write one of those? Hmmmm?
I've never seen Kansas perform live and I don't own anything but a few tunes by the band, all sitting comfortably in my iPod. What I do know is that the 4-5 hits I do listen to occasionally, hook for hook, melody for melody, squash most of the "superstars" that seem to get 4 and 5 stars tossed their way by critics, like fisherman toss chum into Long Island Sound. Hey Bright Eyes!! Yeah you! And you, guy from The Editors (or is it simply "Editors?" Douche.) And you, Devendra. And you, bearded indie guy. Show me one song I can hum, or get all crazy to like my good buddy behind the wheel in that State Farm commercial and I'll buy you a new pocket protector and some new tape for your black frames.
In the last 16 months, Burning Wood has received more support than I could have ever imagined. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. But along with the fan mail comes the naysayers, most with the same complaint. People don't like my passion. I gush, either for, or against. Gushing is apparently not welcome. Unless of course you're gushing over something everyone else is gushing over, then it's fine. (Sorry. I'll try to get my timing right. Maybe we should all hang out in the same room together.)
Angry? Yeah, a little. But I'll get over it...maybe.
Let me ask this---
If I get too excited because I love something and that is offputting, and if I get too excited because I dislike something, and THAT is offputting, what kind of reaction would suit you? What would you trust?
Wouldn't you rather passion, either way, than some kiss-ass label whore, who just loves everything and piles the polite praise on any and everything sent his way? What good is that? Plus, I don't need 1000 words to say what could be said in 50. (Well, except now)
To paraphrase writer Dan Baum, "Writing about music should be like a woman's dress: long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to keep it interesting."
I refuse to tone it down or pad it out. But I digress.
As you can see, I'm discouraged. I'm gushing again, and that damn State Farm commercial is not helping.
But wait...you know what's worse?
That fercockta Direct TV commercial with the Black Eyed Peas. The old Alpo commercials with Ed McMahon seem like Kurosawa shorts compared to this crap.
Please bring back quality. It is sorely missing in art, music, television, and occasionally, human beings. And speaking of quality...
So how 'bout them Yanks?