My unwavering musical principles!

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Bent Fabric
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My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 16:23

I had a conversation recently with an old friend in which the topic of "musical events that occurred in our adolescence" (specifically late teens/early twenties, for me) came up, and our contemporaneous responses/reactions (certainly mine) were sort of recalled with a certain bemusement (the deeply self-serious and smug identity politics behind some oft-stated belief system of discernment and priorities and delineation can look very different when recalled 30 years on).

At their most seemingly inflexible and banal, these commandments can serve as a substitute for some more basic understanding of...anything, I guess. A mere "simulation of principles." I remember reading a semi-fictionalized piece on Police fans in a 1982 rock magazine and a particularly intractable character declined an invitation to see the group on the basis of "I don't see trios in stadiums". A friend of mine (cloth eared in some crucial ways...I say as a former bandmate) maybe 10 or 15 years later ended up trading in/selling some truly classic CDs on the basis of "demanding a consistency from artists and groups" that had failed to materialize in subsequent efforts - I think it's great to stand for any number of empirically tested or deeply self evident beliefs, but..surely, one never wants to look as if he's enacting an imitation of learned human behavior.

I have another friend who has a "don't go see some certain type of old folks in concert, no way, no how" rule that seems to repeatedly bite him in the ass (when he lowers his guard, the result ends up being catastrophic...when he sticks to his guns, he tends to miss the event of the century, and regrets it considerably). That he, himself, is "closer in age to Brian Wilson than to Adele" seems somewhat relevant, I would think.

I'm certain we have it in us to take these things well into our mature years ("I'm not paying more than $40 for a concert - this concert - by my biggest hero who is apparently kicking all kinds of ass on this tour - is $41 dollars so I'm staying home!"), but...I'm not sure these sort of arbitrary seeming stances seem as necessary as we approach a certain, dare I say, "middle aged zen". Or do we just dig in deeper?

The overly reverent "these are the hallowed greats and we are lucky to breathe their air" point of view can reach its nadir in the "Little Richard didn't even make it to the stage" "Yeah - he's fucking Little Richard - he doesn't HAVE to!" over-worship of "the founding fathers".

I've got a pretty good memory about how firm I was in my most callow reasoning, and...it undoubtedly served me occasionally in some stopped clock ways, but...rather often, I can reflect and see that it most certainly didn't.

I can start serving mine up in great quantity when and if the thread gains traction, but...you...your friends and acquaintances...can you recall any of your own/their firm and rigid stances that seem less defensible with the passage of time? Do you, even today, cling to any basic rules that may seem more theory than reality? Did you ever continue to feed at the wrong trough for cosmetic reasons?

Flexibility and stuck thinking are funny things to tease out. Even the bugbear of consistency (assuredly, not always a virtue). No one wants to be wishy washy, but...stick in the mud can be its own self wounding weapon.

Let's be having you.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Muskrat » 25 Jun 2018, 16:54

The only one I have these days is that I won’t see a live show where I can’t sit down.
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Jimbo » 25 Jun 2018, 17:09

Bent Fabric wrote: "I don't see trios in stadiums".


I can dig this … somehow. But what's worse is a famous trio with a synth guy in the back of the stage.

What I might not do is see a one guy-one acoustic guitar performance in a stadium. Neil Young and a guitar in the Seattle Center was a bore. And then, even in a nice venue, Graham Parker with an acoustic guitar was not fun either. So, I am making a musical principal now.

I won't go and see a guy who usually plays with a band if it is just him and a guitar. But if it is free I might.
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby sloopjohnc » 25 Jun 2018, 17:12

Devo is playing at a festival in Oakland this weekend that John Waters is hosting. It's been four years since they've played, and in the article leading up to the festival, Mark Mothersbaugh mentioned playing the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco in 1978, a show I was at, and how much San Francisco meant to them.

I was planning on going to Santa Cruz, but thought about skipping it to see them.

Then I saw how much the tickets were: $199. That's for the whole weekend, but I don't think there will be that many bands I will want to see.

I'm going to Santa Cruz.

I don't like spending a ton of money to see bands or artists. I'll go see someone at a club, but will not pay over $100 to see someone at an arena or amphitheater. The stars would have to fully align for me to spend that kind of dough.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 17:16

Oh, Christ! Fucking festivals.

No.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Jimbo » 25 Jun 2018, 17:25

sloopjohnc wrote:Devo is playing at a festival in Oakland.


Something creepy about this. I saw Devo back in '81 in The Showbox in Seattle and it was one of the best shows I ever saw. But if they come out now with the flowerpots and the schtick, they're too old and they are obviously cashing in on the nostalgia. Especially when Mothersbaugh does so well as a film music maker. So I might make a rule about not seeing a formerly a cool band doing an oldies thing like they're Neil Sedaka or Paul Anka.
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 17:28

sloopjohnc wrote:Devo


I haven't looked it up, but I feel like their ranks have been considerably depleted in recent years, no?

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby sloopjohnc » 25 Jun 2018, 17:55

Bent Fabric wrote:
sloopjohnc wrote:Devo


I haven't looked it up, but I feel like their ranks have been considerably depleted in recent years, no?


Gerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh did the interview. Bob Mothersbaugh still plays with them and Gerry's brother, Bob, died. Casale's son plays in the band, I believe.

They referenced an album they put out four years ago that didn't do very well. I vaguely remember it. It seems Mark Mothersbaugh is the fly in the ointment for not touring. He doesn't need to and he sounds sorta like Robert Plant, that that was then and this is now. Sounds like he's doing it because Waters is associated with it.

I don't mind festivals that much. I almost went to the Warped Tour this weekend with my daughter, but it was too hot.

For years, I went to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco. First with a friend and then with Toomanyhatz and Minnie used to join us when she was here visiting that time of year. Baron and Six String joined us one year.

It just got too big for me where you couldn't see bands or move around that easily. Heck, Hatz and I used to go, set up lawn chairs at a certain stage and both of us take off to see certain bands we wanted to see and then return at certain times. It was great. It was a madhouse for a few years, but I heard the crowds have declined a little.

It's free so it's right up my alley.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Rayge » 25 Jun 2018, 18:30

No prog since 1970
No grand opera since forever (live) or 1966 (on record).
All else on record welcome to give it a bash, whether musical or not.
It's not been difficult maintaining those, tbh.
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby The Beatles » 25 Jun 2018, 18:45

I have all sorts of 'prejudices'. It saves time.


By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.

A vacant mind is open to all suggestions, as a hollow mountain returns all sounds.


I'll come back to this.
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 18:47

ORORORO wrote:I have all sorts of 'prejudices'.


As do I.

Do you find that your basic policies, such as they are, have morphed in any way over a series of decades and stages of life?

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Count Machuki » 25 Jun 2018, 18:48

These days I won't go to any concert I can talk myself out of going to.

:(

I'm hoping that changes soon.
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby The Beatles » 25 Jun 2018, 19:02

Bent Fabric wrote:
ORORORO wrote:I have all sorts of 'prejudices'.


As do I.

Do you find that your basic policies, such as they are, have morphed in any way over a series of decades and stages of life?


Not as much as I'd have liked, I'll be honest! But I don't see this as a big problem.

This kind of activity is true for most of us, I know, but - every now and again I'll go back to, I don't know, Public Enemy or Nick Drake or Joni Mitchell. Or 70s reggae or opera or something. And my feelings haven't really changed. But I suppose that isn't what you're really addressing, as it's not like I've cut myself off to this altogether. I'll keep trying.


When I was 18 I used to go out with out a group of friends regularly to get drunk. We were very close, but casual observers wouldn't have known this. We spent a lot of time slagging off everybody - Clapton, the Who, Yazz and the Plastic Population, U2, I dunno. You name it, we dismissed it. We enjoyed it! It defined us. It might be something typical about the area I come from. But where I am now - just criticising the stuff that doesn't make me want to stand on a chair and yell - is progress of a sort. :)
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby toomanyhatz » 25 Jun 2018, 19:05

The big one for me is I will only go all the way to LA (which I now live 40+ miles from) for a band of a certain stature. If they're playing in Ventura County (or Santa Barbara, which is equally far away but a more pleasant drive), I will see them there. Pillowz is much more inflexible with this rule than I; I will often combine multiple events if there's someone I want to see, but I will plan it to my convenience. It has to be someone really special for me to make a day of it.

Also, free festivals (i.e. Hardly Strictly, though it's been a few years for that as it's gotten a bit overcrowded/untenable) only. That's not hard and fast, I guess, but it would really have to be special - like maybe if "Oldchella" were in my neighborhood and cost $10, I might have had some interest. Otherwise...
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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 19:09

toomanyhatz wrote: "Oldchella"


What did that thing cost?

I know our Jamie went (he's long gone from here, isn't he?).

I saw Jeff and Steve from Redd Kross on FB one of those weekends very sweetly enjoying all of the bands they'd bonded over as children and it kind of made me feel like this would have been a pretty kick ass experience.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 19:10

toomanyhatz wrote:The big one for me is I will only go all the way to LA (which I now live 40+ miles from) for a band of a certain stature.


I am honored.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby toomanyhatz » 25 Jun 2018, 19:17

Bent Fabric wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:The big one for me is I will only go all the way to LA (which I now live 40+ miles from) for a band of a certain stature.


I am honored.


Or to see friends I don't have many opportunities to see, it must be said. But of course were there not musical reasons as well, I might have asked if we could just meet for a drink after the show (and have actually done so, though it's hard to do delicately without being obvious about the "dude, love you, just don't like your band" aspect).
sloopjohnc wrote:Aslan has some good credenitals - got his BA from Santa Clara, a Jesuit school and his Masters from Harvard and PhD from Santa Barbara, a surfing school.


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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 19:30

ORORORO wrote:
When I was 18 I used to go out with out a group of friends regularly to get drunk. We were very close, but casual observers wouldn't have known this. We spent a lot of time slagging off everybody - Clapton, the Who, Yazz and the Plastic Population, U2, I dunno. You name it, we dismissed it. We enjoyed it! It defined us. It might be something typical about the area I come from. But where I am now - just criticising the stuff that doesn't make me want to stand on a chair and yell - is progress of a sort. :)


It's a "big admit", but I rather vividly remember in middle adolescence (late teens) sort of really defining my tastes in some large part via what they excluded...the things I couldn't abide.

The bigger admit is probably that...whatever actual contents may have shifted in the intervening decades, I still have quite prominent feelings about things that are...you know..."bullshit", and how much it suits me to keep them out of the fortress.

The only real change is that the ranting has slowed. It's like bickering on Facebook or something - the opinions are unchanged, but there is some sense of "Surely, I can't blow raspberries every time that artist or group walks by." Maybe now that we're all in each other's faces around the clock, the unseemliness of another man's trolling provides some much needed perspective on one's own reflexes.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby Bent Fabric » 25 Jun 2018, 19:53

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, I had a real thing about things that gave the appearance of being hyper contemporary or modern. I mean, I gambled on records and concert tickets constantly and...did not remotely always come up aces, to be honest. But I had this notion that the moment I was living in (or the moment just ahead) was where the gold was, and...a band name or a record jacket that implied something "colorful" or novel was my best bet.

To that end, I treated a LOT of "old man rock" like pure HAZMAT. There were people who went on tour and put out records around then whom I really sniffed at (a lot of those records are really not ever going to be my thing, to be fair) - concerts in stadiums or arenas were an absolute no no. I'm sure a lot of artists I'm seeing this year I could have seen dozens of times then for what a ticket now costs.

There was some "semi-educated" policy/methodology there that really took ages to erode and give way to a more "Whar's me Left Banke!?!?" base of operations, from which I now intend to comfortably see out my own eternity.

Conversely...in middle age, a rather massive series of more recent prejudices have developed. Your fucking band name almost always saves me a hell of a lot of trouble. I typically feel vindicated, and a great deal of this is empirically based...but, yes, I really have firmly established all sorts of alarms to tell me when something schmucky (or "woolen") is heading my way.

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Re: My unwavering musical principles!

Postby sloopjohnc » 25 Jun 2018, 21:14

As I wrote, I almost went to the Warped tour this weekend. I've been before with my daughter.

I stayed mostly around the old skool punk and ska stage but ventured out to see some acts that I liked, mainly through my daughter.

The last part of the show, I went to the rising stars stage. There's something to be said for seeing a band trying to declare itself and giving it their all. They pull out of every stop and it's enjoyable to see a band perform what you can see they think what song is really going to get people going. But the enthusiasm is infectious, especially with teenagers, and it's always good to see a young band make some new fans they ordinarily wouldn't have made in a national venue like that.

If I see an act I don't know, it's usually at a club. If they're performing for a pretty established act, they're already semi-established themselves or have a smattering of fans.

It's great to see a band with that "It's us against the world" mentality. I don't get the chance to see that much these days.