Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Random Music Writing #2

Lesson #2: Try not to talk to the hippy.

I've spoken to a lot of different people. I've found that the bass player and the drummer are often the best for getting past the bullshit and into what the band is like. Drummers and bass players apparently use different drugs than guitarists, singers and keyboard players. They're also backbone players. They're usually saner than the rest of the crew they travel with and will speak the truth. Example: Sully Erna says his band Godsmack was named after some trivial incident that relates to something he said. His bass player says, "Um, not really. There was that song by Alice in Chains..."

The downside is they are often less articulate and the members most often replaced when a band has an internal squabble or shakeup. Getting tossed the bass player can make the interview more difficult if they've only been on board for a month.

The hippy is usually the crispy-fried guitarist or front man. He's the guy who will microwave oatmeal, then eat the oatmeal as he gibbers nonsensically about how things were back in the day. He's the singer/songwriter who thinks his lyrics about the contributions of President Taft are remotely interesting. The hippy doesn't give interviews, he grants the opportunity for communion.

You will learn little of value speaking with the hippy.

The only good thing about talking to the hippy is he'll probably have forgotten to read the bio his record label provided him. If you let him, he'll trip up, praise the eugenics practices of the Third Reich or tell you about his problem saying no to blowjobs from fifteen year-olds.

This would be fine if you work for Rolling Stone or Spin or MAXIM, but it's not so hot if you work for a small paper in rural America that really just wants to give somebody another reason to go to a bar and spend a little money locally.


Buzzardbilly said...

I used to know Shannon Larkin (drummer for Godsmack) when I was at WVU. He was a really nice guy.

WTF ever happened to rock concerts in Charleston? When I was growing up there was always at least one a month, more often two. I know the dip started in the late 80s recession, but it doesn't seem anyone's done anything to try to bring it back.

Lack of a unifying radio station is probably the problem. Seems like X106.3 is always involved with the Huntington shows.

primalscreamx said...

A lot of answers on that one.John over at Budget Tapes has the most comprehensive answer I've ever heard, but it goes that back in the 70s and early 80s there was a concert promoter or executive who lived in the area. He helped schedule tours nationwide and simply pointed some of them at Charleston.

And... also you got to follow the money. Rock shows don't pay as well here. They have a harder time paying for themselves. That's why we get a lot of country, when we get anything.

And... from radio people I've heard mostly complaints about how the Civic Center managment thinks. They seem to want to be a convention and conference center more than a concert hall.

Those are the high points...

And I knew about Larkin. If there'd been time, I would have spoken with him, too --but it came down to either the guy from Wv who joined the band or the one guy who'd been in the thing since the beginning.

Godsmack has a greatest hits album out. I figure they'll be coming through again.

Buzzardbilly said...

John is a wealth of info. He was referring to Entam. My babysitter when I was growing up was one of the Entam guys.