Posted: February 7, 2013 in Music nobody listens to

Got into a discussion over at Balloon Juice about reggie music, as yesterday was Bob Marley’s birthday.

If you haven’t yet, check out the biography “Marley” IT IS SPLAWESOME.  It covers the flaws as well as the positives of the man.  In particular, one of his daughters is visibly enraged at his multiple dalliances and his distance from his children. Eleven kids with seven different women.

Anyways, I am not here to talk about Bob Marley.  Here to talk about the draft.  Wait.  Let me refresh my drink.

Here to talk about music.  Shocking, I know?

In that discussion, someone mentioned how reggae music seemed to be much more in tune with aging musicians, where rock music has never gotten much beyond the young person’s dick-orientation.

In evidence, I agreed with a reference to Jimmy Cliff’s album of last year, Rebirth.  It is a splendid batch of songs, produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid.

Includes a more reggae, less punk version of Ruby Soho, from …And Out Come The Wolves, one of my favoritest albums.

His voice is still just sublime.  And during a period when I have been channeling musicians who died young, too young; it is heartening to check a musician who still has vitality and such talent.  And his connection with Armstrong, such a strong connection to a younger generation of music.

mikey, well, heck EVERYBODY really, mocks me for being so nuts about music.  But I like almost every kind of music, and find connections EVERYWHERE. It’s all part of a huge underlying network of human achievement, and bands like the Mekons have connected art, theater, film and music in a way that is almost universally ignored.


Hey, did I mention that Jimmy Cliff also covers “Guns Of Brixton”?

Making music is, I think, one of the primal urges in human animals; right after sex, food, and killing each other.  I would LIKE to think it is stronger than the urge to violence, but since in recent days it seems the urge to kill is actually stronger than the urge to fuck or eat, the issue is up for debate.

(Dennis Quaid has less rhythm than Ringo)

In any case, I continue to believe in humanity’s ability to create art, and architecture, to build and sing.  It is pretty to think so, isn’t it?

When I feel bad, music helps me.  When I feel glad, music adds to it.  When I look for inspiration, musicians help provide.  When I feel like there’s no future, music reminds me that there is.  When  I want to scream and rage, there is music that screams and rages.  Music helps you drive fast and love slow.  Humans make music so they don’t lose hope.  Humans make music because they HAVE hope.

I wish I had talent for music.

  1. You can’t have paid attention to that amount of music and not have SOME talent. Besides you just gotta do it for a long time and eventually you’ll write one or two decent songs, like Tom Petty.

    • Jebus, wouldn’t you think so? It took me forever to be able to even TELL when a guitar was out of tune. The portion of the flick “We Jam Econo” where Watt says “We never even figured out that you were supposed to tune together. We just figured, you adjusted the tension of the strings for preference; some guys liked em tight, some guys liked em loose.” that is totally me. Having a mandolin is acceptable, because the strings are doubled; but the 12 string just makes my head hurt. It sure sounds pretty though, after I tune it for four hours and during the 85 seconds it remains in tune.

      • I would kill myself if I had to be a harpist.

      • That’s the great thing about playing the other kind of harp — a different key means a different harp (or another position on a different harp, which gets complicated quick) and you just throw away the harmonica when the reeds are shot and it goes out of tune.

        And you can carry your instrument in your pocket.

        But on the downside all the other musicians hate you and don’t want anything to do with you, so there’s that.

      • fish says:

        I would kill myself if I had to be a harpist.

        There would be many reasons to.

    • I agree. Clearly, you’ve got a great ear for music, and that ain’t nothin’. Also, I’m not convinced Wayne Coyne has all that much natural talent for music and he’s made himself quite the nice career out of it.

  2. blue girl says:

    well, heck EVERYBODY really, mocks me for being so nuts about music.

    Um, no. I (who is one part of EVERYBODY) have never mocked you for being nuts about music. I don’t have the range of music to love that you do, but I totally relate to your utter nuttiness. And I love it.

    But I like almost every kind of music, and find connections EVERYWHERE.

    And that is magic.

  3. mikey says:

    Ok, the deal is, I’m halfway there (Livin’ on a prayer). I get what music is for the present – like poetry, it TALKS to me. And I get how it works, in a totally olfactory manner, to channel the magic and the misery of the past. But I don’t see it as any kind of bridge to the future – that requires something like science, not something like art.

    And I LOVE Rancid – the puck sensibility coupled with the incredible musicianship is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Rancid and Rage, along with Offspring and some of the Flaming Lips, teaches us what they mean when they say alternative – it’s about stretching the definitions, making art that creates genres, rather than making art that FITS genres…

    • sheesh, mikey, it’s easy. the bridge to the future is how subsequent folks internalize and regenerate what is being done in the now. The blues made the Rollings Stones and Led Zep possible. Led Zep made the hair bands possible. The MC5 made punk possible. David Bowie led to New Wave. Alice Cooper was a punk. The Meat Puppets were part of Nirvana.

      It’s a continuum Future artists build on what came before. REM once sang “standing on the shoulders of giants, leaves me cold” but that was false; themselves stood upon the shoulders of VU, Wire, the Byrds….

      If you create, what you create is based on what you have seen/heard/experienced. It’s a continuum. Frank Lloyd Wright used to like to pretend that he was a singular genius, but his work borrowed from the Viennese Secessionist movement, as well as Japanese idioms.

      The future artists will use what we leave, to make their own art. THAT is the continuum. And we need to leave them something worthwhile….

      • mikey says:

        OK. I’m good with that. It occurred to me when I read it that the difference is clear – you tend to view music from the standpoint of the people who make it, and that is so alien to my experience I don’t know how to view it as anything but a consumer, to whom the music appears magically out of whole cloth without any process at all…

      • mikey: musicians build on other people’s work the same way software folks do. You could even look at things like a 12 bar blues as an API of sorts. Not sure if that helps or not.

      • mikey says:

        No, I actually DO get that. I just don’t have any contact with the musical creative process (unless you include a moment in time that resulted in “This Planet’s on Fire” by Sammy) so I don’t SEE music from the viewpoint of the creator, but rather from that of the consumer. So I see it differently than perhaps some of you do. That’s all….

  4. mikey says:

    Now I’ve gotta go across the street to get a potato because I HAD a potato and I can’t find the fucking thing anywhere…

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© says:

    Funny, when I get into discussions at BalloonJuice, hair-pulling and eye-gouging commences rather quickly.

  6. mikey says:

    I quit reading Balloon Juice. It’s like they WANT to argue with idiots. Same as S,N. Arguing with idiots gets old real fast, but apparently that’s just me. Other people seek it out and chase it down. Ok, whatevs, but you need to think about that – if somebody with as little connection to the world and community as I have finds that pointless and tiresome, what the hell are YOU doing?

  7. what the hell are YOU doing?

    drinking and designing a new facade for an old Pierce-Arrow dealership. What the fuck are YOU doing, bunkie?

  8. mikey says:

    If it gets you off your dead ass (heh heh) I’m all for it!

    • mikey says:

      Watching Boston demolish the Lakers, baking a potato, drinking a little Sailor Jerry’s, writing a blog post for my new employer, thinking about shit and watching the foreigner in the building next door change clothes….

  9. It would be AWESOME if someone would give the Mekons a sitcom….

  10. mikey says:

    “mikey is so amazingly naive.”

    Is it weird that makes me happy?

  11. this is a happy post

  12. Includes a more reggae, less punk version of Ruby Soho, from …And Out Come The Wolves, one of my favoritest albums.

    You know my favorite thing ever written about Rancid- “Their musical influences range all the way from Joe Strummer to Mick Jones.” Heh heh… “And Out Come the Wolves” was a great album.

    My favorite reggae artist is Toots Hibbert, who invented the term. For the record, my all-time favorite Toots and the Maytals song is “Sweet and Dandy.” Simply divine.

    The new Jimmy Cliff material is top notch. Ernest Ranglin is still recording and touring. I’m a big fan of him

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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