This will probably be a disjointed mess. There has been a lot on my mind. Some of it audio but most of it loosely connected at best.
I’ve been staying—largely—away from Facebook these days. Partially because I spend about 50 hours a week dealing with social media in my “other” life and partially just because, to steal the Betty White meme from a few years ago, it really is an enormous waste of time. And in an election year I tend to lose friends. But in the small amount that I am on…
A few years ago, my wife got a book called “How To Not Act Old.” It was supposed to be a spoof but had some gems. Like don’t use email to try to contact anyone under the age of 40 unless you want to be pegged as a fossil. Really. It’s completely true. Anyway, I am reminded of that tome a lot with some of the posts I see.
“Remember when music had something called talent?”
That’s a big one and there are a bunch of variations on it. Don’t do it. Walk away from the keyboard if you feel yourself on that road. Two reasons. First, It’s bullshit. There is a huge amount of talent in current popular music. It may not be to my taste. Most of it isn’t. At all. But to deny the innate talent of a Katy Perry or Beyonce or Justin is just dumb. Second, it makes you quickly irrelevant.
I was forced to confront my prejudices on that when we did our big interview with Pooch and Big Mick last year. I made some comments about how stupid EDM was and they both set me straight. Said there was nothing like the energy of an EDM show. And I thought about it and listened to some of it. Again, still not to my taste but even things that I have said in the past like “His only talent seems to by pressing the space bar on a macBook Pro” about an EDM artist called Girl Talk. And, yeah, live he hits that space bar and dances around like an idiot. But when I went back and listened, I found some extremely creative use of samples of music I love. Hendrix and the ilk.
But here’s the deal. I say all the time that it is no longer our world—referring to anyone over the age of 40. It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s world. We just get to live in it. It is a snarky way of acknowledging that we have aged out of the demographic. But if we want to stay relevant and employable, the whole “music used to include talent” attitude is terrible. That knowledge was cemented a few months ago when I got to sit down for dinner while the Billboard Music awards were in town with a group that included Toby Francis and my brother from another mother, Pooch. These guys are known for long-standing gigs with some of the biggest classic rock and even metal acts ever. Toby did Aerosmith and ZZ Top for a really long time. Pooch has been with a list that includes GNR and Pantera and Kid Rock and Kiss and Linkin Park and, and and… And today, he is mixing Justin Beiber and Toby is with Ariana Grande. Cubby Colby—whose remembrances of Prince are on the next page—has been mixing the Brittany Spears residency in Vegas for a couple of years now. Pop is king. You wanna stay employed? Get used to it. It’s not changing anytime soon.
Which leads to a totally graceless segue into some talk about other changes to the world as we have known it. On a much more serious level.