Sometimes I see things occurring in the music world in 2011 that leave me scratching my head. Metallica for one thing. I haven’t bought a Metallica album since 1989’s, “And justice For All”, and although I’ve been vaguely aware of the bands musical output since that time, let’s just say that with the exception of the ‘None More Black’ album, most of it has left me a little cold. Who can forget ‘alterna’ Kirk with his makeup and facial piercings in the mid 90s? Or the teaming up with an orchestra? Like Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica is a word that is common place nowadays, a brand name as common as Corn Flakes, Arnott’s or Dr. Pepper. They are all squillionairs, so what do I know huh? Well, I have an opinion, and in my mind, musically, they ain’t a pinch on what they used to be. Yes I recognise that they can’t keep rehashing “Puppets” type material, and they needed to grow artistically etc, but an orchestra? Can you imagine Ronnie Van Zant singing with an orchestra? Or Malcolm Young? Nope. Yet now, the band has been recording with Lou Reed. Huh? Lou Reed? I remember Diamond Head, Venom and Raven being influences on the band, but the Velvet Underground? Being back on the ‘Big 4’ bill may have allowed the band to reel back in some much needed and long lost credibility, but Lou Reed? According to Kirk Hammett, both he and James Hetfield were both brought to tears during the sessions for the band’s upcoming collaborative album with Lou. Hammett added, “Lou managed to take out both guitar players in METALLICA in one fell swoop, with his amazing poetic lyrics.” Amazing poetic lyrics? Right on Kirk. He’s right up there with Dylan, Lennon and McCartney. Although I dunno why I’m so surprised at the pairing of the Bay Area’s finest with Lou. Remember that when Lou released his “Metal Machine (66 crush) Music” album he claimed to have invented heavy metal music and asserted that Metal Machine Music was the ultimate conclusion of that genre. Nuff said Lou. The album made Reed a laughing stock in the rock industry while simultaneously opening the door for his later, more experimental material. Historically, Metal Machine Music is now considered (by some), as a seminal forerunner of industrial music, noise rock, and contemporary sound art – which is all just different superlatives for “sounds like shit” in my language.
Another crossover also had me wondering whether the lines of division in the rock world no longer exist. Nothing gives an artist more credibility than hanging around the cool people. That is, musicians who have stayed cool over the years and never change despite the trends. Which is why you have so many wannabes nowadays hanging off Lemmy’s arm. Remember when Eddie Pearl Jam was hanging around the death beds of the Ramones? Sickening. How about this one? Alterna country and ex Whiskeytown main man Ryan Adams covering a Maiden tune? Yep, he recently recorded an acoustic cut of ‘Wasted Years’ (which originally appeared on the bands “Somewhere In Time” album). I find it all very bizarre. Seems to me that all and sundry want to hitch a ride on the metal bandwagon now, particularly with now celebrated bands such as Maiden (Hello Lady Ga Ga), Priest and Motorhead the prime targets. Not just good for the credibility – but it also doesn’t hurt the mechanical royalties either huh. I wonder if anyone’s knocking on Lizzie Grey’s door nowadays?
I’m an analogue guy in a digital world, so I grow weary of most of the dross that people listen to and watch nowadays. Facebook, Twitter, IPod, reality TV etc etc. Like all those talent shows, the Idol shows, Americas Got talent etc. Here’s a case in point. Eleven year old contestant Anna Graceman recently performing a cover version of MOTLEY CRUE’s “Home Sweet Home” on America’s Got Talent”. An ELEVEN year old covering a tune by the supposed baddest of the bad boys. Mmmm, well. I suppose it’s good for Frank’s royalties or helps with his large food bill, but this kind of stuff is what’s wrong with the world today. Rock n roll is so homogenised these days. The ever present opportunist Sharon Osbourne stated that MÖTLEY CRÜE will find the performance “absolutely amazing”. Why Shaz ? Because it’s an eleven year old kid covering a tune with a complicated piano piece that Schroder could have knocked out on his toy piano? Nope, it’s got the cute factor. Tie it up with nostalgia and it’s a sure fire marketing winner. Motley Crue, come hell or high hells, I mean water, will push forward into the next generation if not buy their own “talent”, than by tweens and their techno loving parents who lap it all up. Nostalgia, that’s all it is my friends. I bet Lizzie Grey wouldn’t have minded a cover of “Public Enemy #1” though!