Random Observations and Alternative Facts

Rolling Stone confirms that the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, is “finally happening.” (Were I forced to use one of their songs for a title, I might have preferred We Will Rock You.) Am I the only person who was unaware this movie was ever supposed to happen? Is this flick a good idea? An actor named Rami Malek who stars on a show called Mr. Robot will play Freddie Mercury. Look for this epic sometime in 2018.

☛Speaking of Rolling Stone, Rickie Lee Jones wrote a nice tribute to Walter Becker in its pages shortly after his death. He produced her excellent album Flying Cowboys. As much as I enjoyed her tribute, I hope she never writes one for me. Several times she refers to the guys as “homely” and says, “they made being cool more important than being handsome.” Ouch.

☛In chatting with fellow blogger Hackseptic, he reminded me of what a great album Steely Dan’s Katy Lied is. And while much of the later guitar solos were played by session guys, Becker was a fine, underrated guitarist. The solo from “Bad Sneakers” is exquisite and it’s all Walter. And in tribute to him, it’s the next solo I’m learning.

☛I’m hardly a Deadhead but I did kinda get into their tunes in the last few years and came to appreciate them more as a result of my series. A month or so ago, we went to see a band called Deadhead who did all covers of their tunes. They were pretty good but after two hours I’d had enough Dead music. But I do have their channel on pre-set on satellite and they make for good driving music.

☛When the Beatles station was announced on Sirius, I wondered how they’d fill up the time. I certainly don’t listen to it 24/7. But based on what I’ve heard thus far, they accomplish that reasonably well with guest DJ’s (e.g Peter Asher), songs, outtakes, countdowns and what seems like a decided McCartney leaning.

☛Paul McCartney lived at the Ashers’ house in London for a time when he was dating Peter’s sister Jane. While introducing songs on his Beatles segment, Peter reminisced about how he’d be hanging around the house while John and Paul sometimes wrote songs there. They played both “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face” for him and asked him what he thought. Consider that.

☛Dunkirk, the event, started out with the possibility of complete disaster and turned out to be yet another in the endless series of personal triumphs by the Brits. Dunkirk the movie conveyed that well, tried valiantly to be great, had to settle (IMHO) for being good. But I’m glad I saw it, gladder still it got made.

☛A couple of music magazines had Gregg Allman on the cover. Interestingly, the September issue of the British magazine Mojo did that. My observation has always been that the Brits, despite being great blues lovers,  never had quite the enthusiasm for the Allmans as us Yanks. For one example, I read Elvis Costello’s autobio and he never once mentioned them. Yet he liked The Dead. Maybe I’m wrong on this. I’d like to think I am.

☛Some guy from a Ukulele site (!) posted a comment on my “What I Talk About on This Blog” page advising me I had made his Top 20 music blogs 2017. I thought that was really cool but chose not to single it out in a dedicated post. You can see that list here if you’re so inclined.

☛Bloggers are well aware that spammers try to use their comments sections to sell their products, lure you to a porn site or whatever. So typically they post a URL and make some random comment. One guy’s comment last week was, “I Let Myself Become A Fool,” and I thought, damn, what a great blues song title. Billie Holiday could have killed that.

☛It’s interesting – to me anyway – that Ireland hardly ever shows up in my statistics as a country where my blog is read. U2 couldn’t even get them interested. Probably have better things to do.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Random Observations and Alternative Facts

        1. The Internet has some major downsides like allowing neo-Nazis and the like to find each other. But a big upside is the ability to just communicate about mutual interests with people all over the world whom you’d otherwise never know of. Endlessly fascinating.

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  1. Speaking of Rolling Stone, did you hear that founder Jann Wenner is putting his controlling stake up for sale?

    While it’s fair to say that Rolling Stone has lost a good deal of influence, more than anything else, the planned sale reflects the dismal state of the American publishing industry. Revenue from print advertising is in the toilet, and most media outlets haven’t figured out successfully how to make money online.

    A sale wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of Rolling Stone, and the Wenners may even stay in charge. Jann’s son Gus is the president and COO of the company.

    Still, it would mark the end of an era, and all of it on the eve of the magazine’s 50th anniversary – sad!

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    1. No I had no idea. I was a subscriber and regular reader for years. Their style and approach have probably influenced this blog as much as anybody when it came to writing about music. I gave up on it for quite a while, fell back into it in the last year or so. Good cover article about Foo Fighters in current issue. Hope Murdoch doesn’t buy it. 😂

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        1. Interesting. That makes me feel sad, another lost marker of my youth. For good or for ill – and that bogus rape story was a tremendous journalistic fuckup – Wenner shapes Rolling Stone. If it’s bought and he’s shoved aside, it will no longer have that link with the past. Hell, the guy co-founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I see the handwriting on the wall, alas. 😧

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        2. I had a digital subscription to Rolling Stone for sometime, using their app. But when I would clean the data cache in my smartphone, unfortunately, it deleted content I had downloaded previously. I ended up having to resubscribe. When the same thing happened again, I got mad and didn’t renew.

          Ironically, I suppose the above partially illustrates the challenges most publishers face nowadays. Hardly anyone buys print subscriptions any longer. The result is declining monies from print advertising, traditionally a critical revenue source for publishers!

          Add to this that so much info is available online, and much of it free. As a result content largely becomes a commodity. If you want to charge folks for online access, you better make sure your content is unique, so it’s not a commodity. That’s a tough thing to do!

          As for Rolling Stone’s botched rape story, I agree that was a serious blow to their journalistic integrity. But it was just one nail in the coffin.

          The times they are a-changin’!

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  2. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Newseum in DC. Per Wikipedia, “The Newseum is an interactive museum that promotes free expression and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, while tracing the evolution of communication.” It’s actually pretty cool and not nearly as stodgy as it might sound. I went there shortly after the RS rape story broke. There’s a whole glass-enclosed – for want of a better expression – wall of shame. It includes stories that were botches and that RS issue was in there. What pissed me off is that Wenner said, basically, no one will be fired or held accountable. Really? Apparently the story wrote itself. Fucking pussy.

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  3. Comments on your comments. Rami Malek is a very good actor. Mr. Robot is a dark, angry TV show. The first season was great, stopped watching it in the second, got too intense, full of despair.
    The Dead movie is worth watching even if you are not a Deadhead. It’s another viewpoint of the band , with lots of interesting takes.
    My first purchase of Rolling Stone was the John Lennon interview in 1970 and became hooked to the magazine. That lasted about 15 years, kept all the issues , then finally dumped them in the mid 80’s.
    Steely Dan is a band that I also enjoyed. Becker and Fagen worked well with each other. I met Jeff “Skunk” Baxter several times at award functions. Seemed pretty normal. My late wife went to Bard College about the same time they did. She never met them.
    Glad you liked Robert Crumb.

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    1. I’ve heard of but never seen Mr. Robot. There are so many TV shows I can’t even keep up with the ones I supposedly watch. My first RS had Mick Jagger on the cover, somewhere around that same time frame. I naively thought that there would always be a Rolling Stone on the cover. I loved RS’s loose, hippie ethic back then with musician’s classified in the back of the magazine. Love the Dan. Never did find out why they called him Skunk. I liked Crumb’s drawings before I knew his name. Again, that weird hippie ethic. It was fun while it lasted.

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