From: scatanzaro4 (scatanzaro4_at_cox.net)
Date: 2004-01-28 17:36:23
It's nice to see that this list is still alive with issues and
controversy regarding music and the artistic and business sides of it.
One thing that amazes me is how "mainstream" artists are flogged by
those musos who consider themselves "underground."
I've come to think this is because a lot of people like to think of
themselves as subversive "anti-corporate" types. railing at the Fox News
broadcast through their Philips TV while unloading the groceries they
picked up at Trader Joes and loaded in the back of their Honda Element.
But, if you've been around the music business for a while, you come to
the conclusion that, for musicians, the difference between the
"underground" artist and the "mainstream" artist has nothing to do with
their "anti-corporate" politics. I have yet to meet the musician /
artist who would turn down a really good major label deal.
Why? Because no matter how much of a pseudo-Marxist a musician considers
himself, no matter how many silk screen Che Gueverra t's they rock at
gigs, the fact is playing your music in front of 3,000, and having
roadies load your stuff into a truck while you chill in the tour bus
after the gig, is a lot more fun than playing to the backs of 30 people
talking to each other and loading your stuff out of Fais Do Do (LA
reference) at 2 o'clock in the morning.
So, can you really fault Moby for railing out against corporate control
from under the safety of the Ford Explorer media tent at his latest
massive event? Well, I guess you can.
The other day on MTV2, (ya know, the less corporate MTV), I saw Jay Z
unplugged with backup band The Roots. So, what are we to make of this?
The band was "real hip hop" but the MC wasn't? Or, are the Roots no
longer "real hip hop" because they appear on MTV w. Erykah Badu and Cody
ChesnuTT, to say nothing of the one man corporation Jay Z?
Now, I love Straight No Chaser, read it faithfully every issue, even
raving Marx.. I mean Max. Reinhardt, and have been hipped to lots of
great music from it. But, I note the general rule that when an artist
pimped in those pages really breaks out, you never see their albums
reviewed in their anymore.
For instance, Macy Gray was lauded as "shock! Major label showing
vision". it was predicted she was so weird her single would either sell
20 or 20 thousand. When it sold 8 million, she vanished from the pages.
Ditto Alicia Keys, Norah Jones etc. Granted the magazine may choose to
use valuable space to promote new artists, but still, are we concerned
with how the music sounds, or something . dare I whisper the word.
The fact is, Norah Jones is no less (or more) a great artist because
she's sold millions than if she sold thousands. Similarly, watch Alicia
Keys live. you may not like her music, but, the talent shouldn't be in
dispute. And, after living in LA for a while, it seems like most of the
major artists you see on Urb or MTV or wherever get their start as
underground artists with a big buzz.
Not every artist who generates buzz makes it all the way, though. The
pat, pseudo-journalistic answer for those who don't make it is "they
refused to sell out." When, in lots of cases, the true reason is that
nobody was, for whatever reason, making a really good offer.
Fabriclive; Bugz In The Attic
Marc De Clive Lowe; Melodious Beats vol. 1
Nitin Sawhney; Prophesy
Clifford Brown: Round About Midnight
Ps anyone heard New Sector Movements latest, now that they're on Virgin?