Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The Los Angeles Times' Calendar section went into overdrive on the rock music as chicken-soup-for-the-soul beat today, erasing the goodwill accumulated over Joan Jett's fullpage Vic Tanny-pic on Sunday.

Repeating from Friday's entry, daily newspaper arts & entertainment sections are nuts for stories on music that's good for you. Rock 'n' roll was not meant to be good for you, 'you' meaning some great whitebread upper middle class mean that's the favored reader demographic. Joan Jett, of course, could've told the Times that on Sunday if they'd asked her, I bet. Her best album -- called Album -- had two tunes on it, a copy of the Rolling Stones' "Star Star" (chorus of "Starf------, starf-----, etc.) and "Coney Island Whitefish" (we used to call them "pink elephants" and the chorus is: "Scumbag, scumbag!") neither of which can be made into inspirational messages for newspaper stories.

But a story of Melissa Etheridge ("She's speaking out through her songs") as a writer of rock and roll equivalent of Hallmark cards for tragic occasions can. Take the published picture at left. Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news of my honorary degree! Wooh! It's a good cold shower after Monday's blog pic.

Writes Tina Daunt for the Times:

"First, Safeway and Ford Motor Co. -- co-sponsors of the Race for the Cure [for breast cancer] -- asked if she would write a song about the experience for their fundraiser." Etheridge is, so far, a cancer survivor.

"For a VH-1-sponsored Hurricane Katrina telethon, she wrote and performed 'Four Days,' a song about women who lost a child in the storm. BestBuy wanted a Christmas song. For that, she wrote 'Christmas in America,' about a wife longing to see her spouse, who is serving in Iraq. Last Summer, after seeing Al Gore's slide show on global warming, she signed on to write a song for the film version . . . "


To say nothing more is to say everything.

Matched across the page from it, in case one required more proof of the Times' addiction to sissypants news on pop music as vitamins and medicine for the inner self: "A healing of souls using rock 'n' roll -- Therapists have found that [it] has a therapeutic effect . . . "

As a kid, I consider myself lucky to have had vulgar Creem magazine and another pub, the title of which I forget, featuring Alice Cooper with a dozen stuffed rats glued to his jacket, instead of the daily newspaper, for the print on rock music. It pissed off my mother so much she harbored a grudge for decades, having her vengeance by throwing my record collection out when I wasn't paying attention. However, read what passes for writing on rock and roll enough in 2006. It makes you want to listen to polka anything but.


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