Tag Archives: radio

Bob Dylan: Blowin’ in the Ether

Forever Young: Photographs of Bob DylanWhen a public personality who doesn’t have some physical impairment yet otherwise can’t get much of a job in the public eye finds him- or herself in this sitatuion and thinks that eating and paying the rent are good thing, that person tends to go to something like “Dancing With the Stars” or one of those lemming-like shows on VH1. It may be pathetic. But it pays the bills.

A newer venue for those whose star is fading is satellite radio. Seemingly, those Space Cadet Companies have an endless source of money to match their bandwidth. They’ve discovered that it is necessary to find any and all means to fill in the time that people are paying for who otherwise might just say “screw it” and turn on a terrestrial system, especially those who have discovered that they are sick and tired of hearing commercials for going to their PC and the like, commercials that have all of the intrinsic interest and quality of those shown on cable TV stations that few ever venture to.

Which brings me to Bob Dylan and the “Theme Time Radio Hour.” Yes, I know that his Modern Times disc is doing remarkably well sales-wise. Good for Bob. But his radio program is pathetic, as he rolls out patter that sounds like it was scripted by a writer of ’50s pulp detective fiction—regardless of the “theme.” Sure, Bob can pull out some rather arcane tunes. So can Dr. Demento. This is what the voice of several generations has come to?

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Rebel Yell – A Shout out to the Dixie Chicks

Naked Chicks Rule!Three years ago, the queens of country cross-over, the Dixie Chicks, alienated the country music world with a rather inocuous comment about President George W. Bush. The comment, made just days before the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, brought the trio a world of trouble and cast them as traitors in the eyes of many country fans. With a new album due this week, anyone who thinks the Chicks are ready to repent and play nice had better think again.

When the Dixie Chicks debuted in 1990 with their independently released Thank Heavens for Dale Evans nobody could have guessed just how independent the future chart dominatrices would be. The group that helped push the later-day country crossover craze of the late 90s and establish themselves as the queens of MOR hits has become a firebrand of independence and integrity—and it all started with an off-the-cuff remark in a foreign country on the eve of war.

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Once In A Lifetime

Same as it ever was? Not really.

The Glorious Noise breakroom is always alive with chatter. Over cheese sandwiches and red pop, arguments erupt and fizzle at breakneck speed. But one conversation that’s never off the table is the cyclical nature of popular music and radio programming. We’re currently in the midst of yet another shift in taste, one that has seen the rise of the new garage and the fall of much of the nu metal that had so dominated radio and MTV just a few short years ago. What’s really interesting about the current shift is how similar it is to about ten years ago, when the grinding rhythms of grunge were tempered by the jingle jangle jams of nice guys like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Hootie & the Blowfish, and The Gin Blossoms. But there IS a difference behind the latest cyclical shift. And it’s all too clear who’s changing the channels.

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The Real Garage

Glorious Noise was representin’ in full effect on WXRT’s Sound Opinions last night. I hope I sounded better than the first time I was on that show. The show focused on garage rock, and they had us on to discuss the recent White Stripes thing we did here a couple weeks ago.

I get frustrated listening to other people talk about sixties garage rock though. It’s a subject I care deeply about, and it’s annoying to hear people throwing terms around willy nilly. As anyone who has heard Crypt Records’ Back from the Grave series knows, there’s a huge difference between garage rock (roughly 63-66) and psychedelic rock (roughly 66-70). I don’t care what Lenny Kaye thinks or what the original Nuggets album contained. Just listen to the stuff, and you can tell which is which.

Update: you can now listen to my segment online via SoundOpinions.net.

In my ongoing quest to

In my ongoing quest to avoid supporting the Media Borg, I am hereby giving up listening to my favorite radio station, WDFN 1130AM, Detroit’s best sports talk station. I am doing this for one simple reason: The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications. I just can’t ignore this fact any longer, so I’m tuning out.

I encourage those of you who also oppose(d) the 1996 Telecommunications Act that eased the FCC’s restrictions on media ownership to do likewise and stop listening to Clear Channel-owned stations in your area.

Oh, and by the way, lest you think I’m a complete loony for thinking like this, go ahead and read this article on Salon.com explaining how Clear Channel is blatantly defying the FCC, even in its diminished regulatory capacity, and screwing us all.

It’s no wonder that radio has a bland sameness to it nationwide—it really is programmed by one big corporation—explaining why a music lover like me (used to) listen to sports talk.

IT’S NOT EASY MAKING DEALS WITH THE DEVIL ANYMORE

There are too many nameless crossroads intersecting throughout the Information Delta. You can’t just hunker in a ditch, waiting for The Prince to show up. Sure, in the old days, you’d get some songs together, do some travelin’, and eventually The Man (or his boys) would contact you. You’d know where to go, and the deal would go down as such. The idea was, sell your soul to the devil, and you might not be saved from eternal damnation, but you’d at least avoid earthly poverty and sell a few records in the process. The electric mud flowed, the kids danced, and the parents were angry.

But the devil has diversified.

And we’ve already lost. Remember the song’s warning: “if you lose, the devil gets your soul.” If it’s a conscious decision, fine. Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Screamin’ Jay, Ritchie Valens; those guys dealt directly with The Man in The Horns. Sure, he still screwed ’em. But at least he bought them a drink first. Nowadays, The Prince has got himself a board of directors (a band of demons?). And poor you, waiting out by the crossroads, you don’t even know what’s coming at you out of that darkness down the road. And that’s the way he likes it.

Keep their heads ringin’.

If the funk of 40,000 media outlets just keeps on truckin’, pumping its high-octane mix of jury-rigged Claymore entertainment into the porous, inviting frontal lobes of the TRL nation, then The Man and his peeps’ll just keep on raking in the dirty cash. And it’ll get darker before it gets light. Because things just aren’t that simple anymore. It’s like that 50s futureworld of a tangled mass of cables and circuitry, all buzzing with bleeps and blips has finally manifested itself in the form of a 24/365 media T-1000 that never quits in its Quest to Sell. Everybody knows that the gun is loaded, but no one’s going to give a shit until Stone Phillips’ faceplate comes loose and he looks like Yul Brenner in “Westworld.”

I guess you could say that media killed the radio star, but that wouldn’t be true. If you’ve got talent, you can still make it to the top, baby. Just look at the skyrocketing careers of our baby popstars: Britney, Christina, and Justin all got their start as gleeful cherubs on Mickey Mouse Club. Somehow, their respective parents/managers dropped those kids off at the right crossroads, at the right time, and the little dynamos didn’t even scream when The Prince came looking for a soul to steal. Fast forward 10 years, and that shiny fiddle made of gold is still the holy grail. Unfortunately, Mr Daniels was wrong in that song: The Devil wouldn’t give you that fiddle even if you DID play “Fire on the Mountain” and “Run, Boys Run.” I mean, this is The Man we’re talking about. He’s going to keep that fiddle hanging just out of reach, and everyone – including the popstars, talking heads, newsmen, actors, actresses, and TV presenters themselves – are going to keep on dancing ’til their feet fall off. We can’t blame anyone, and we’re not innocent, either. Because Axl was right. That old Man, he’s a mean motherfucker, and he’s going kick us right down the line.

Old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

JTL