Saturday, June 03, 2006

WHAT IF GG ALLIN HAD BEEN A NEW WAVE SISSY? Someone in a newspaper 's arts section would think it was great

In early entries, Dick Destiny has explained how the majority of music journalists at newspapers avoid having anything to do with hard rock.

A lot of it's an unconscious class thing. The writers are primarily nice upper-middle class snobs. But they don't know anything about hard rock and don't get it even when it manifests in the extremes and craps on their feet. Gay Talese was on O'Reilly on Friday night, and he said that compared to his days as a reporter at the New York Times, that the employees of newspapers had generally moved away from being grounded in the unconnected middle class, so you don't have to take it from someone like me. Demographically, it just makes sense.

Anyway, Dick Destiny subscribes to the Los Angeles Times and couldn't get through a day without reading it over lunch. But its music coverage -- whenever it touches upon anything grubby from the world of rock 'n' roll -- has always been ludicrous. If you're sincere and intellectual, good boys and girls, painfully white and lip-pursingly collegiate and indie, something for children whose moms drive them to punk rock rehearsals, benign novelties, or some combination of these, you're in great hands, but if you're a hard rock band from a hard rock town, forget it. What the Los Angeles Times Calendar section chooses to present as news from that world is delusional.

One good recent example of the Los Angeles Times in this regard was Wolfmother. Music writers peddled the conceit -- of course, they didn't think it was a conceit -- that the Australian band was like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath or the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

But every Saturday, the Times also presents a selection of downloadable pop musics from the web. These must also be sincere and intellectual, lip-pursingly collegiate and indie, a novelty, or some combination of the three.

Today was no exception.

Selected by Casey Dolan, first to be delivered was Bruce Springsteen's "Old Dan Tucker" which fulfilled the sincere and intellectual selection from the menu, much like a musical vitamin. Next was "Throw It All Away" by something called Zero 7, of which it was said "their new album . . . explores the whimsy of the marketplace and disposable culture..." That was a second course of intellectual and the first helping of lip-pursingly collegiate and indie.

Third was a song by a Minneapolis group called The Chambermaids. Take the name, note the use of the phrase ""thinking outside the box harmonically" and the assertion that the moniker is no indication of how "rough" the band sounds, expect exactly the opposite -- and you are there.

But the best unconscious fraud was the last selection -- a song said to combine the elements of the fastest rapper in the world according to a book of world records, Twista, and GG Allin. Put together by a duo called My!Gay!Husband!, it grabbed Dick Destiny's attention because GG Allin, when he was alive, sent a copy of his very first album (on David Peel's vanity label!) and one of his first singles, "Gimme Some Head," to me, back in the mid-80's. Dick Destiny subsequently wrote a computer virus named after a different Allin "tune," "Eat My Diarrhea." The virus displayed a colorful and annoying graphic dedicating itself to the Texas Nazis, one of Allin's many worthless but like-minded backing bands. Allin was told about this while serving one of his terms in prison, according to second-hand news, and was reportedly bemused by the idea. Over the subsequent years, my friends and I subsequently bought other GG Allin records.

For the Los Angeles Times, Casey Dolan was not anywhere near the same page as GG Allin, who was known to defecate onstage, demonstrating the truth of the statement that some music writers wouldn't know hard rock if it walked in the door and evacuated on their shoes. The "TWISTA vs. GG Allin" tribute/mash-up by My!Gay!Husband! was alleged to contain Allin's "scabrous blasts" and "cranium-knocking rock 'n' roll." The song was nothing of the sort. It is a computerized cut-and-paste of three guitar chords, sounding as played by a New Wave band trying to imitate the Beastie Boys, backed by a toy drum machine.

Allin's first album did contain some material at odds with the loud obscenity and free-flowing filth that subsequently established his reputation. One song, "Don't Talk to Me," even sounded poppy and this is what My!Gay!Husband! chose to sample. Not so daring to select from typical Allin material, the duo of computer music diddlers had trouble getting through the word "motherfucker" for the MP3 file, something that would have never impeded their subject. If you believed even a little of the Los Angeles Times' fluff on My!Gay!Husband! and expected the likes of "Stink Finger Clit," "Suck My Ass It Smells," "Sleeping In My Own Piss" and "Swank Fuckin'," your were outta luck. Move along, now.


Blogger The Ghost of Lenny Bruce said...

I always had a lot of fun with GG Allin's --- or more accurately, 'GG & The Jabbers' --- first album, usually while driving somewhere with a passenger:

"I'm gonna put in a different tape now."
"Whatcha putting in?"
"Some GG Allin."
[All color drains from passenger's face.]

Allin's first album was proof that he wasn't always mentally ill... Hell, it's a damn good power pop album; proof that Allin actually could carry a tune if he wanted, and could work with musicians who knew more than two chords. You mention the song 'Gimme Some Head', which was so bouncy it's hard to not dance the frug to, Frankie-and-Annette style.

I'd given up on GG Allin by the time his album with the Holy Men came out. It was the realization that he wasn't kidding that did me in. What a depressing waste.

8:02 AM  

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