Sunday, August 11, 2013

I H8 Radio

Playing right now: John Coltrane - Sun Ship: The Complete Session
(I thought about getting Mosaic's 3LP edition of this set because I'm sure it's beautiful and elaborate. But I could use the extra $60 I saved by going with the CD version, and put it towards the Mingus box that Mosaic released a while ago. Besides, I'll get to play the CDs in the car or other places so I'll get to explore it more.)

I heard a radio ad for the I Heart Radio music festival that's coming in a couple months. The voiceover stated that the show is making history. It hasn't even happened yet. How the hell can it be making history? I've really had it with this whole notion of writing the history books before the historical event even occurs. There are many examples of that happening, but as far as music goes, the shining example of this dubious act happened in the late '90s when there were new Woodstock festivals. The promoters felt entitled to compare their shows to the original 1969 event simply because they were staging a big outdoor concert with a myriad of different performers in roughly the same area. Now all that anyone remembers from those concerts is the event in, I think it was 1999, when flocks of concertgoers set fire to overpriced vendor stands and assaulted fellow concertgoers. Everyone seemed to forget that the reason the original Woodstock is held in such high regard is that no one had done something on that scale and that no one had any idea how huge it was going to be. Those three days probably invented the phrase "logistical nightmare."

But anyway, about this I Heart Radio show - the other thing that's so annoying about the show is they're crowing about ALL THE ACTS THAT ARE GOING TO BE THERE. Usually the commercial switches to a flat, emotionless woman's voice that sounds computer generated, who rattles them off in a manner that doesn't relay any excitement. [I'd rattle off some of them but a. I don't really care about accuracy right now and b. when I did try to look up the website, it made Coltrane freeze up and stop by playing.] Point is: You've got your hard rock, you're got your hip-hop, you've got your Top 40, you've got your R&B AND IT'S ALLLL GOING TO BE IN THE SAME PLACE!

Wow - isn't that great?! All these people who like all this different music will get to hear it all in the same place! Maybe Aerosmith will bring Kei$ha up for a song. Maybe Gwen Stefani will do a song with Lil Wayne. But why stop there?  How about Carly Rae Jepsen and the Fleet Foxes? Maybe Lady Gaga should do a set with Anthony Braxton! I mean really, she's admired by people beyond the Top 40 field, and she's uh, experimental, I bet she could make weird vocal noises for 40 minutes over a Ghost Trance piece. And if you put all this music together on one stage it means that everyone's going to like it, doesn't it?

In case you're not picking up on my sarcasm, I'll put it another way. Do you know what happens when you mix all the Easter dyes together, in hopes of getting a color that's just as beautiful as all those Paas dyes that you have on the table? You get brown. A mediocre result of too many things thrown together.

I was once part of a well-intentioned group of people in Pittsburgh who tried to start an organization that brought all the diverse musicians in town together, the idea that it was for a greater good. I came away realizing that this doesn't need to happen. AND IT'S OKAY. If metalheads want to hear rap, they'll explore it on their own. If jazz musicians think indie rockers have no talent and mope, don't try to force them to change their mind by forcing them listen to it.

And I Heart Radio isn't making history by putting all kinds of acts together. They're not going to turn anyone on to something new and different. People will see the acts they want to see and when someone comes on that they don't know, they'll go get a beer and start scoping the crowd and texting their friends.

1 comment:

|åƱȩȠȡȅɍ ȶῢⱠⱡⱣž said...

John Coltrane is pretty cool!