Saturday, November 13, 2004

 Posted by Hello

I finally got a chance to see the Cartridge Family tonight at Sadlack's. They're an offshoot (along with The Loners) of one of my favorite bands to ever call Raleigh home: Big Joe. But whereas The Loners are stripped down (just guitar and drums), The Cartridge Family includes a keyboard player, and so is a bit more lush. I realized as I was on my way home that I forgot to put some cash in the tip jar, so I'm going to send them this and another crappy phone photo to hopefully make up for it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

 Posted by Hello

Cool upcoming show alert: Widow (pictured) will be at Kings in Raleigh on Saturday, Nov. 27. I took this photo at last month's Metalfest, where they completely rocked. A couple of the members used to be in Sorrow Bequest, which was a cool death metal band from Wake Forest (I think that's right -- maybe just some of the members were from Wake Forest).
You can download some of their stuff HERE.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Here's the letter I wrote to the NY Times about the article "The Rap Against Rockism," which appeared in the Oct. 31 A&E section. Go here to read it (registration required).

Kelefa Sanneh's Oct. 31 article "The Rap Against Rockism" was enlightening. It offered the best explanation I've seen for that term, but it also forced me to confront my own rockist tendencies.

However I'd like to know why Sanneh didn't explore one of rockism's biggest contradictions, heavy metal. Here's a genre of music that's created by and appeals to an overwhelmingly white male audience, and it's a genre that usually values technical ability over style. If you're a crappy musician, you're just not going to gain the respect of most metal fans.

Yet aside from a few groups like who take an ironic approach to the music, metal is almost universally derided by music snobs. Those who wouldn't be caught dead at an Yngwie Malmsteen show will gladly bob their heads to The Fucking Champs, who do just as much guitar wanking, only they don't throw their guitars up over their heads while they do it.

As for the argument that metal is sexist, homophobic and sometimes racist, you can make the same accusations against quite a few in rock's legends.

The difference is that metal traditionally appeals to a blue collar audience, so in addition to rockism, there's a healthy dose of classism behind those music snobs' derision.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I have officially become an old fart. Last night I was riding in my car, listening to Queen's "Somebody to Love" on WRDU (that's proof of old fartdom right there). As Brian May (No. 2 on my list of greatest guitarists of all time) launched into a majestic solo, I thought to myself, "why should I even care about new music when I can listen to this all day long." Then I realized what I'd done and just about cried. The fact that I'm going to be 38 in just a couple of weeks compounded my misery.

The whole thing reminded me too much of my old guitar teacher, who looked just like Jeff Lynne and told me I'd never be a good guitar player because I was a girl and my fingers were too short. When I played him a tape of "Crazy Train" and told him I wanted to learn it, he just rolled his eyes.

"That guy's not playing," he scoffed. "If you want to hear some real playing you need to listen to Spyro Gyra." To this day I have deliberately avoided listening to Spyro Gyra.

So that's what I've become. The type of music snob who thinks these young whippersnappers don't know real playing. I'm going to try and correct that by making more of an effort to seek out music outside of my comfort zone.

That old anger at my guitar teacher has also inspired me to restart project AC/DC, which is my ongoing attempt to learn to play "Back in Black" straight through, solos and all. (So much for venturing out of my comfort zone.) I had made good progress, having gotten all the rhythms and a couple of solos down -- except for "Let me put my love into you," which proved to be more difficult than I thought. But for various reasons, none of them really good, I quit practicing and got a bit rusty. So here I am publicly declaring I will practice and be able to play the entire album -- at least passably -- by March, after which I will work on my long-time dream of forming Mannhandlyr with Jessica on vocals and a drummer who will only use one arm.