#207 pt II-Jay
- I want to thank all the Rock Tales readers for such an
overwhelming response. It must be true that ignorance brings out
the worst in people, as evidenced in the June issue of
Playgrounds. Out of misguided gratitude, I will address each of
you, cover to cover.
- Beginning at the beginning, we have the Letter from the other
Editor, Vicky. I was truly disappointed that my other editor
chose to ally herself with my opposition, instead of either
remaining neutral or standing behind me. Her opening paragraph
is a disclaimer, denying involvement in the $2 cover scandal.
She asked me not to say anything, but she called Buddy Nelms
before the issue was published to inform him of R.T.#207. He
said he agreed with me, and wanted it stated in all their ads
that there would be no more cover for musicians. Although I do
not personally know Buddy, he must have known the issue was not
the $2, but the principle. For centuries musicians have been
considered second class citizens. It was not until Ludwig van
Beethoven, a true Rebel, in the late sixteenth century, that a
musician took a stand on this issue. He ranks among the supreme
immortals of music not only because he represents the transition
from late classical to romantic music, but from the domination
of aristocratic patronage to individual artistic freedom.
Everytime Ludwig got a gig playing piano for the aristocrats,
they would make him use the servants entrance and told him not
to mingle with the guests. Everybody thought he was whacked for
protesting. He thought he was just as important as they were,
even though he did not have the money they had. A couple hundred
years go by, and I get a gig playing for a wedding. I get the
same story, "Don't eat any of the food until the guests
leave and when you take a break go sit outside." Well, this
is 1996 and Homey don't play that. Anytime I see a musician
exploited in even the most benign fashion, I'm going to sound
off that Rebel Yell. Vicky needs to take a cue from Dave Bryant
at The Columbus Forum. He said no matter how much money you
have, or what your social position is, he will always print the
truth. Now that's my kind of game. Tell me not to say anything,
then hold back the rest of the story, then turn around and
oppose my position- "panties in a wad?" I don't have
any idea how much money Buddy pays for his ads in Playgrounds.
It makes no difference to me, I'm not in it for the money. But,
if you want to put it against the nine months of FREE writing
I've done for Playgrounds, I'd say you should stand behind me,
especially in matters where I at least have a clue and you
publicly admit incompetence, i.e. music. Your statement "my
point is music is about pleasure" is true for you, but is
also a total denial of music as art and part of our total
culture. Music history is studied against the backgrounds of
social, economic, political, cultural, and philosophical
developments. If your kid takes a crayon, and scribbles on the
wall, you could frame it and call it art. If it gives you
pleasure, then does it have the same value as Picasso or
Rembrandt? If you read a Donald Duck comic book and it gives you
pleasure, then you don't care about Shakespeare? And if Radar
Rose play 3 chords all night and it gives you pleasure, to hell
with Beethoven? Is this some new hedonistic philosophy? Live for
the moment and forget the history of civilization? I was
probably taking music appreciation with Harry Kruger at Columbus
College while you were still in diapers. I have spent years
playing and studying music. Naturally, from someone who could
care less how many chords are in Amazing Grace, I get no respect
for accumulated musical knowledge. I'm supposed to pretend I'm
really grooving to Radar Rose's A minor to D vamp, but the truth
is, I'm not going to apologize for learning enough about music
to know what bores me. Music has three elements which I listen
for; the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm. People started
using chords over 400 years ago. They were built on a tertial
basis-superimposed thirds. Then the chord vocabulary was
expanded in the twentieth century by further addition of thirds-
eleventh and thirteenth chords. Some chords became famous.
Scriabin created "the mystic chord"-C, F-sharp,B-flat,E,A,D.
Then we have chord clusters with seconds and combinations of
heterogeneous intervals precluding a root basis of construction.
Also, mixed chords, or polychords with two or more different
roots like Stravinsky's famous " Petrouchka
chord"-superimposing the triad C-E-G and F #, A #, and C #.
There is even the "Jimi Hendrix chord", a raised nine.
When the music is playing, a plethora of musical information is
passing by for a trained ear. When I have to listen to an hour
of music where all the chords are major or minor triads, I'm
falling asleep. By enriching the harmony and harmonic sequences
of virtual music, we can heighten awareness to the world of
existing real music. To deny its existence is called
de-evolution. Rock Tales is written by a musician for musicians.
All others should read, and comment, at their own risk. Music
can be many things to many different people, but to the
musician, music is their life, and that is taken very seriously.
- My next fan mail came from Tanya E.(no big) Deal. I don't know
who, or what, a Tanya E. Deal is, but I know what she is not.
And that is, a refined lady, deserving respect from others. Go
to finishing school and study the principles of democracy, then
read your vulgar letter again. I will never "shut the hell
up" but thanks for taking the time to tell me.
- The next reference to R.T. # 207 comes from Mike Childree.
Now, I respect Mike musically since he reviewed one of my
favorite L.P.'s "Heavy Weather" by Weather Report. Due
to a misconception of the term virtual, he went on like a Gilda
Radner bit where Roseann Roseanadana delivers a fiery editorial,
then, discovering she had the wrong topic, modestly says,
"never mind." Mike, the musicians were not virtual,
their music was. Instead of using terms like erudite musicians
and pop musicians, I distinguish the two basic types of music
with virtual and real. Virtual is neither a condescending nor
demeaning term. It refers to music which exists in essence, like
Amazing Grace, but not in actual form, like Beethoven's Symphony
#6- Pastorale in F major. You know, like Jaco Pastorius is a
real bassist and Jose Castellanos is a virtual bassist. Or,
Pyramid could play "Birdland" but Radar Rose or Rat
Race could not. So we have two types of music. If Elwood Madeo,
Robert Carr and maybe you (I've never heard you play knowing it
was you) got up there at the Perky's, I have no doubt we would
have heard more real music. I would estimate 90% of the gigs I
have played were virtual. It is what the listening majority want
to hear. So next time I say something you're not sure about,
just E-mail me. We could virtually have a real jam.
- The final R.T. # 207 letter came from within Ralph A. Frank
Jr.. He and Vicky are conspicuously harmonized, in that, he is
willing to trade technical perfection for spirit. If you could
listen to Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic
to Gershwin's "An American in Paris" and tell me there
is no spirit there, I would have to say you dropped too many
Quaaludes. Or listen to Herbie Hancock's new release,
"Thieves in the Temple." Technical perfection includes
spirit. I know what you are trying to say, that a guitarist like
John McLaughlin, running scales at light speed, is not as
esthetically pleasant as Carlos Santana, laid back. I agree with
you there, but to say that real music has no spirit because of
its complexity is far from the truth. And while we're out here,
that $2 cover was not used to pay rent. Since you are willing to
donate cash, how about helping me pay for my Les Paul? And that
"nipping feeding hands" thing was a little too strong.
Buddy knows that a little controversy is still free press.
Everything is cool. Lighten up.
- Well, that just about does it for Rock Tales # 207. Once
again, thank you all for responding and I encourage you to write
again. I'm going to leave you with a Rebel Hymn from one of my
favorite virtual singers, Elvis Presley.
you're looking for trouble...da-da-da-da-da
came to the right place...da-da-da-da-da
you're looking for trouble...da-da-da-da-da
just look right in my face...da-da-da-da-da
was born standin' up...........da-da-da-da-da
talkin' back.... vrruuumm
daddy, he was a green-eyed mountain jack.
Rock Lesson # 207-Remains- Never play the sucker
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