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Archive for January, 2009

David Wild has a space-filling little post over at Huffpo entitled “Back Off the Boss,” in which he suggests a ton of “Springsteen Bashing.”  Now, I love Bruce. LOVE him. But for David Wild to suggest people are bashing Bruce because he a. didn’t get an Oscar nomination for “The Wrestler” theme, and b. because they’re lukewarm on the new album and Magic, well, that’s just silly and wrong.

brucespringsteen

Magic is, well, just alright. “Radio Nowhere” rips pretty good. “You’ll Be Coming Down” is a great indictment to the transitory nature of youth. “Living in the future” is sloganeering, and it needs to swing (it doesn’t). I would contend that the E Street Band hasn’t really swung since “Mad Dog” Lopez left. Max is great, but there’s just something loose about those first coupla albums that I can’t put my finger on. That being said, Max’s playing on the Hammersmith Odeon Live ’75 disc is fantastic.

As for the rest, it’s a pretty spare bunch: “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” is a great “River”-era, girl-group gem that coulda been written in the 50’s; “I’ll Work For Your Love” has a great verse, boring chorus; “Devil’s Arcade” I’ll bet was a great demo, it’s a bit ponderous with the band; and of course, “Terry’s Song” is a crushingly great odeto a friend who’s passed. Can’t say enough good things about that song.

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Carl just finished a catalogue for work, I’ve been underwater working on a new project of ours, and I still await his inks for Page 2.

No worries, though, as I’m about to the post the Lamest of All Blog Entries: A list of some of My Favorite Guitar Playing.

Unlike most of the annoying “definitive” lists on the Web, this one has no illusions of completist ambitions. I didn’t consult with 20 record store hipsters. I don’t work for a music magazine. I don’t even keep up with the latest albums like I used to. And it’s only five songs.

I used to work for a record store. When “High Fidelity” was released (both the book and movie, still one of my favorite adaptations), I felt much like most metal bands probably felt when they saw “Spinal Tap”: They nailed it. The snobbery, the reverse classism, the vicious meritocracy of people who generally didn’t even play music, but consumed it like heroin. Much like the Fantasy Football geeks who are psychotic about their “teams,” it’s a culture of those who cannot do, only consume, and rank, and judge. Eunuchs in a whorehouse.

Wallflowers making fun of the way people dance.

With that in mind, a couple of songs with my favorite guitar playing:

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Just ’cause. I’m a bit of a homer when it comes to my comedy and art.

I remember the first time I saw Mitch: he opened for Dennis Miller at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, for some sort of benefit for flooding. Mitch came onstage, packed house, most people had no idea who he was. For about 5 or 6 jokes, no one got him. Then, all at once, EVERYONE got him. I’ve never seen anyone kill like that.

Miller came out for his set, and he knew that he had been owned. He was doing old material, and not just old material, stuff that’d been on his HBO specials. He walked out, stepped up to the mic, and said, “I love it when I have to follow the local Wunderkind.”

You are missed, Mitch.

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