Monday, October 19, 2009

"Oh, I Can't Take Another Heartache..."

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 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?



Gene Oberto said...

“If you have no critics you'll likely have no success.”
Malcom X

Here's a critique-

The free music and new releases may be what brings them to you. But it's that passion that brings me back.

Any fool can tell me it's all good-don't we know- but it's the differences that help you learn.

Like why anybody wants to inflict pain on themselves by being a Jets fan?

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”


steve simels said...

Don't mince words, Sal -- tell us what you really think.

Sal Nunziato said...

See? :)

steve simels said...

BTW, I think it was George Bernard Shaw -- in his day, one of the best music critics working, although because he was a staunch anti-Wagnerian, people tend to forget that -- who famously said:

"Nobody ever erected a statue of a critic."

Anonymous said...

Sal, keep up the good work, don't let anybody knock you down.
I hope your week gets better.

John Bacabella

Ken D said...


Yes, go with the passion. Just, please, not for Kansas...

Ken D

Anonymous said...

'eff em all Sal...keep the faith my brother
Allen Vella

jeff said...

fuck 'em.

FD13NYC said...

Sal, keep gushing until it flows over. If I had a blog I'd gush too. You're still one of the best at what you do at Burning Wood.

I liked the Kansas tune when it first came out and I still like it. A shame that commercials use good songs to get peoples' attention to get a point across, it's sickening.

No such thing as band comraderie, that's a hoot, but true.

Anonymous said...

Who is this guy FD13NYC, he seems to be a wise man?

Leo Buscaglia

Chris Swartout said...

Gush away, but I am sorry to let you know Sanchez doesn't appear to play QB in anything resembling inclement weather.

THAT SAID, this site is indispensable for me these days. Hell, that Nazareth song alone (listened to it 4 or 5 times on the drive up Friday night) is enough to keep me coming back. And I'm glad that we agreed on the Nick Lowe and Matthew Sweet shows. Makes me feel smarter.

Fuck the fuckers. Keep being Sal.

And as for Kansas, I had a couple of records when I was in early high school. I always have a soft spot for my roots!

cyndi lee said...

I'm reminded of my young self: 21, living with my older brother in NYC and completely nutso for Springsteen. Brother had a girlfriend over to visit, during which I 'performed' Thunder Road, whipping myself into a glorious frenzy that prompted her to ask "What's up with your sister?"

No retreat, Sal, no surrender!

soundsource said...

hello from sunny nashville. so what did i miss and what do you mean no band camraderie...just remember in the words of that great agent sid da booker "every meshuganah band has a great three minute song hidden somewhere in them." or was it "passion we don't need no stinkin' passion" or maybe "when you look up passion in the dictionary there's a picture of burning wood."

charlie c. said...

The gushing I can live with (for or against), the use of 'offputting' twice in one and the same paragraph -- that i am kind of struggling with . . . but huge comeback with 'fercokta' only a few scant lines later.
Rock on Sal. Rock hard. We can take it. (So very glad I didn't know you when you thought Bird was a hack!.)

misospecial said...

ever get this one: "you're too intense"?

passion does freak some people out. meh. says more about them than about you.

rock on, my holy fool.

Sal Nunziato said...

Yes Miso. The all-time mood killer though is "Calm down," especially when I'm calm.

nina said...

This is a comment on an older post-but I've been "gone, Daddy, gone"-
and hey---PASSION ROCKS! so keep gushing, tall, skinny and handsome pal--some people can't get excited by doodly squat-or even a doodle squit