Took a drive to Connecticut today. It’s an hour to get there, a very nice day to be out, and Miss Daisy needed to make a deposit to the Random Mashantucket College Kid’s Fund.

Sandra selected a radio station after discovering that her brother had likely broken the CD changer a few days earlier. I would have gone with ” Says You ” on NPR, but we ended up with 93.3, a local commercial ‘Lite Rock ” format. I’m told that marriage is all about compromise.

It was a long hour’s drive.

Everything this station played in an hour’s time ( six songs in total ) followed the same song format; a kind of overstylized ballad, with either guitar or piano to accompany. Possibly some artificial percussion added as an afterthought. They only mentioned the name of one artist ( Taylor Swift ), All else went unmentioned, not even the titles of the songs. Nothing.

And rightfully so. This stuff is absolutely artificial mindless digital horseshit. It takes up some small space in between advertisements.

I wondered to myself if this is what the masses believe comprises music these days.

I think they do. That makes me feel a) sad b) angry c) disinterested. I find it very hard to believe that people can be so easily programmed. But they are entirely welcome to it if they’re that far gone. I’m too damned old to be concerned.

I find myself entirely in agreement with Jack White, who believes that the recording of music should be not only a completely analog process, but also as simple and straightforward as possible. Just to keep it honest. Likely to be painful sometimes, but worth the trouble in the end.

And also watched a Netflix documentary the other day of Keith Richards. He is a surprisingly positive guy, in spite of decades of every indulgence imaginable. He’s very happy to have survived, and realizes that he has found complete spiritual fulfillment through rock and roll.

This in turn led me to the library, where I checked out a few old Stones discs. I was hoping to be reminded somehow of how absolutely vitally important this music was to me at one time.

I was. And was surprised to find that, after being in a dozen cover bands that all totally overplayed ” Sympathy For The Devil”, the original actually consists simply of a voice, an upright piano, bass and drums. And how dramatically a simple thing can be built to great dynamic effect with a little skill and lots of self- control.

And that the always elusive guitar sounds of ” Street Fighting Man ” consisted of Keith playing a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar into a Philips shoebox cassette recorder. Then add voice, upright piano, bass, drums. Voila. History.

Very fun to be taught a music lesson from the ancient past, as if listening to this record four thousand times at age 15 wasn’t enough. Never heard a goddamned thing.

I think I’ll order ” Beggars Banquet” and ” Let It Bleed” from Amazon this week.

Thanks, Keith. And Jack, too. It’s good to be Old School. Really old.

Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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