More quotes and discussion points from EddyFest 2011. Part two: Hurt/Phillips/Bozelka.
- CE confirms with EH that EH wrote for CE at the VV before CE got shitcanned from the VV.
- “I say at the end of the book that almost everything, or definitely more than half, of what I’ve written for the Voice since I’ve left there has been about country, and what that might signify about me being a 50-year old white guy, you know? Just latching on to this music in general. But, yeah… honestly, they’re rock artists, they’re rock artists by the old Bob Seger sense of the term, or the Tom Petty sense of the term. And, in a way, that’s kind of what my country ended up being.” [The “they” being referred to is Montgomery Gentry, K.T. Oslin, and another name mentioned by EH whose name I couldn’t pick up.]
- “It’s not like I don’t get mad at Toby Keith or Montgomery Gentry [regarding their politics], but getting mad is… part of the way to get me off is by making me mad sometimes, you know what I mean? In some ways, those two artists especially, it makes me see how complicated they are. I don’t necessarily like them because I disagree with them, but in some ways, part of what makes them interesting is — it’s not disconnected from our disagreements.”
- “What people tend to not pick up on is, I have some Joe Carducci in me, I like the sound of a rock band, a rehearsed rock band, working as a unit, making small unit music, where the instrumentalists are working off each other… Historically, I think, for the most part — even though I’ve always liked songs by the Bay City Rollers and the Sweet that had studio musicians on some of them, that were basically producer records — or Def Leppard, whatever — theoretically, the best way you should be able to make recorded rock music is with a band that is playing it night in and night out, and not just putting in a good day’s work in the studio. But in practise, it doesn’t always work that way. And Montogomery Gentry rocked harder than rock bands did.” [According to CE and EH earlier on, MG are more or less a duo backed by studio pros.]
- “I don’t really understand what happened to commercial rock. I want to say that it got somehow codified, in the wake of grunge, where it became this kind of dreary… The joy was somehow drained out of it, and it became this dreary music… I don’t know why [rock] ended up this way, it’s something I haven’t figured out. But it did.”
- “I want to write interesting things, about stuff. And sometimes — I never write anything I don’t think, or don’t believe, but at the same time, sometimes a more interesting piece might be where I might be… Look, let’s say there’s 20 subjects out there, and let’s say 19 of them, the things that I think are what everybody else, you know, is writing. Well, probably, those won’t make for especially interesting pieces, compared to the one that, um, you know, I might think differently than what a lot of other people are saying.”
- “I don’t have opinions because it’ll piss people off, I have opinions because they’re my opinions, and sometimes my most interesting opinions might happen to piss people off. Period. Okay? That’s the best way I can explain it. Which probably doesn’t explain it at all, but that’s the best way I can…”
- “I try to judge music — I mean, I think I really do, I try and I succeed by judging music by what it does, not by what it’s trying to do. Which I think is one thing that’s confused a lot of people over the years. When I write a review it’s not, ‘they were aiming to do this; did they succeed?’ That’s not what you do in a review. What you do in a review is ‘They did this, it was good or bad because — you know what I mean? They might do something that’s not what they’re trying to do, and they might be really good at something they’re not trying to do. So, maybe they made a really good heavy metal record when they were trying to make a country record — I don’t know, you know.”
- “There’s probably good music critics who are never assholes, but… in my writing, I’m an asshole sometimes, or I used to be, when I was younger and stupid. I’m not anymore. I’m nice now!”
- “If somebody would’ve assigned me a really long Grizzly Bear piece, I guess I probably would have — I probably would have had to force the asshole out of me, you know?”
- AP: “Should anyone become a rock writer now?” CE: “I think it might make more sense than becoming an astronaut. Well, but actually, the space program will become privatized and stuff. But… no, to do it for a career would be ridiculous. It was ridiculous when I did it; it was not the best career choice I could’ve made, and I can’t imagine why it would be a better career choice now. But, on the other hand, you know what, there are people who create content — I’m gonna use these words, and they’re dirty words — there are people who create “content,” you know, and who become part of music discovery startups, and I don’t necessarily consider it part of rock criticism, I actually do a lot of it myself for Rhapsody, but — I shouldn’t say it shouldn’t be a career, because there are people who are ambitious in different ways than I was, who will make good careers out of it. But it seems farther and farther from what I think of as rock criticism.”
[KEVIN JOHN BOZELKA]
- CE informs KJB that he’s “having a beer.”
- KJB asks SW if he can swear. Affirmative.
- CE asks KJB if Daydream Nation is his favourite album of all-time, as so identified in the introduction to the “Predicting the Future” chapter; KJB confirms that it is not but that “it is in my Top 10.”
- CE: “I don’t even know what my favourite album of all-time is; I’m kind of glad no one has asked me that question because I have no idea what I would say.”
- “Lately, in Austin, with all the dollar albums, I’ve kind of been using myself for a consumer guide, which means I’ll go back, and go, ‘Oh, that’s one of the albums in Stairway to Hell that I got rid of 20 years ago! But I must’ve liked it.”
- “…singles don’t exist. They’ve taken over the world, despite not existing.”
- CE: “Am I the first post-boomer?” KJB: “Maybe, maybe…”
- KJB (referencing CE’s essay “Arriverderci, Bay-BEE: Nocera and Fun Fun,” 1988): “There is a sense that you were trying to create your own voice and trying to say something to the boomers, whether self-consciously or not, that there IS something there.” CE: “Oh, hell yeah! I mean, a lot of that early heavy metal writing was just like — you know, heavy metal was this music that pissed all over the hippie generation.”
- “I was a new waver, but I saw something in this heavy metal, this ’70s AOR that I grew up on. But I wasn’t being ironic. Was I being ironic?… Basically, I grew up hating Led Zeppelin and Styx and Kansas and stuff like that, and my very first piece I wrote for money was, ‘this band is good because they sound like Jethro Tull and Kansas and Styx. But also it was trying to come to terms with — you know, maybe my high school classmates weren’t so wrong to begin with. Maybe there is something cool, maybe there is something to be said about this stuff. And it was me trying to figure that out. But I didn’t listen to music in high school; I didn’t listen to music until new wave happened.”
- “If [Rock and Roll Always Forgets] had come out two years later, I did a piece for eMusic last year about midwestern prog of the ’70s: Styx, Kansas, and REO Speedwagon — Prog on the Prairie. And a lot of that is, like, I insult Kansas a couple times, there’s no way Kansas could be any good. You know what? They were! They were pretty good, those first couple of albums. And I guess I understand — in some ways I understand ’70s hard rock more than I did when I wrote Stairway to Hell, that might surprise a lot of people too. But, um, do I consider it my music? Like, do I think I’m part of it? I don’t know about that. It was something I latched on to… I think I was smart to latch on to it, I think it got me a toe-hold in the world of rock criticism.”
Part three forthcoming…
One thought on “Rough Index to EddyFest, 2011 (Part two)”
A few notes:
— I think the Petty/Seger comparison referred less to K.T. Oslin (who I really consider a ’90s artist) than to more recent country guys Eric Church and Randy Montana, who I’d written a piece about for the Voice last week, and who Edd was initially talking about.
— Edd asked me whether I liked any current bands trying to revive ’20s/’30s style old-timey white country square-dance and blues stuff, and the one that didn’t occur to me at the time, who I actually do kind of like judging from their The Whole Fam Damnily and The Wages albums (both of which I’ve written about for Rhapsody) are the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I wouldn’t say they come close to matching the drunken, crazy, brawling energy of the original music they’re drawing on, but they probably come closer than anybody else I’ve heard attempt it lately (including Old Crow Medicine Show, who I mentioned when talking to Edd.)
— Since I mentioned Carducci, I should maybe add that, if some irritating troll somewhere asked me repeatedly to define what I mean when I say music “rocks,” I’d probably consider some definition like “to propel with forward motion, often though not necessarily at high velocity and volume, using a swinging, blues-derived rhythmic base, generally in a small-unit format.” But I probably wouldn’t tell that to the troll. (And of course somebody might further ask me to define words like “forward motion,” “swinging”, and “velocity,” which I may well not all be using in an absolutely technically and musicologically correct sense, and it could go on forever from there, and I’m a busy guy, so….)
— The Sweet and Def Leppard — both of whom were self-contained touring bands, and I believe largely used their own musicians on their records, were horrible examples up above. I guess I was just thinking of the early Chapman-and-Chin-produced Sweet singles where (as Leppard’s Joe Elliott complained when I interviewed him in the piece in the book) Brian Connolly didn’t sing, and Def Lep’sHysteria, where Mutt Lange apparently fabricated a lot of the music in the studio, when the band was taking lunch breaks or whatever. Anyway, I maybe should have cited, I dunno, Teena Marie’s Emerald City or Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” or something by the Monkees or Ashlee Simpson instead. (Or really, probably all sorts of pre-Beatles rock”roll, or ’60s bubblegum music, or disco for that matter, which had no problem rocking and rolling despite generally being played by studio musicians. At this point, I’m contradicting myself all over the place.)
— Just to be clear, when I told Kevin that “I insult Kansas a couple times,” I meant in the new book itself, in passing (though not substantially enough for them to get their own index entry.)