Where It's At...Part V
The March Of The Processors!...
(Bullshit Or The Real Thing?)

A living document that changes...
A document dedicated to "ROCK" spirit and attitude!

And ROCK!

This is where the epicenter of the worldwide movement is friends, it looks small now, but you're all being cool and signing on...and we see you showing up on our http server with your IP's and you wouldn't believe how many more of you are all comin' through our portal. Cool grooves and way cool enough. And we know that what you're about to read is a little strong, but with a war going on, now is not the time to just sit there. We'll see ya at the finish line and bring your friends, then we're gonna have a party and that's gonna be a lot of fun...for all of us! Just dig what Brian's got to say, that's all.
L. Lewis/CEO Worldwide TMA

 

By Brian Sidler - Former Music Writer For Chicago Music Magazine

(Chicago, IL 4 MAY 2009) In the words of the immortal WW2 radio personality, Walter Winchel..."Hello Mr., Ms., & Mrs. Universe and all the ships at sea...let's get on with it and go to press!"

Before we get into the rant we would like to tell the MySpacian Universe and all flipped wigged out music listeners of a little gem we found in our travels. They are called The Organ, a music promo rag that also boasts their own Sunday radio show from the London Underground. Here's the link: "http://www.organart.demon.co.uk/" They've been in biz for a couple of decades. Seems they rave at just about anything that makes noise. Noise or benign musical expressions that we think won't amount to much. But...what we like about this rag publisher is they take big risks and will definitely bend your ear in weird ways with the sense of taste they preponderate on and tout in their lists. You should get on over there. They challenge the listener. We had a bit of fun with the owner asking about cross advertising. He told us all to get "fooked" then blocked our messages. Ha Ha. We loved it! And we dig him! He's a true punk head.

SO!...They listened to us! Hey!...the music feds are getting hip again. Well what do you know about that! America's motion picture and televised music channels have taken a turn upwards. Sure, the past garbage they sold is still in the programming ports...the majors aren't going to leave fertile consumers behind...but what they (those consumers) might not realize yet is that they are passe'. There's a new generation coming down the pipe. It happens to all of us kiddo's! There's a new wave of better music coming over the airwaves, it'll take a while till it's completely replaced the current programming trends.

They're selling a helluva lot new music too! Indie projects are thriving a bit better. Many of the indie music heads, though some are still confused, are compiling interesting tracks here and there. As long as they continue and the youngers are following good examples, instead of insipid trash...we're all in for a great ride over the next few years. Well again...that's if the cooler productions prevail in the listening rooms of the lazy corporate labels and the programming departments of the radio syndicates start exercising a better sense of free-market choice! NOT! Oh, please God, say it ain't so!!! Can you imagine being a high schooler again? It's kids watching other kids play music and sound out their brand of attitude. What happened? Did 3 generations of kids get born with guitars and microphones in their hands? Posing for the camera, is that a virtue? Reflections of themselves to become intoxicated with and etch their lifestyle into the fabric of the world or better yet; isn't that the advertisers? Well we were all self indulgent weenies during our teens! Every generation of teenagers have all branded their own sense of attitude in dance and music. It's the teen musicians breaking, ahem...new ground. Most of it, really isn't "great" new ground, is it? Still, every generation extended that way of partying as long as they could keep it up while striving to remain relevant! Every generation thinks that previous generations are washed up and full of it. Whatever their parents were into, is definitely not cool. They invent new code words. They create their own sense of spite. And...Hipness? When your hipness comes from acquiescing to choices as portrayed in commercials or print advertising...you ain't hip, ya dig? You're yesterday's news! Listen up all you youngers out there! Your high school hallways are the result of a drug experiment that went bad back in 1967 San Francisco. If you're hooked, you're today's "old news" It infected the entire Western center of pop culture. Unfortunately we can't put that cat back in the bag. Too bad really. But realize all you youngers out there, you're too young to be smokin' reef or experimenting heavily with compounds that came from somewhere or anywhere, unfamiliar to you. And binge drinking, is for idiots!!! If you're going to get into mind expansion, you need a fully developed mind to do so. And again, there's no way in hell that alcohol is a mind expanding experience. That's just the way it is.

Well enough about all that! To all you real Jam-Babies out there...we think you're all the hippest there is, if you're listening, that is.

So, guys, why is it, do you think, recordings have grown to sound the way they do? Let's take the Metal genre example and all the sub-genre's like speed, thrash, death metal...yada yada. Who's sound was that really? Ya know, fuzzed out guitar processing? There's two stories. The lore part has it told that after Charlie Christian electrified guitar, the Black Cats who picked up on his riff had an accident with an old Gretsch amplifier. Seems that a mic stand fell on it, tearing the speaker. Broken speaker equals fuzz. From then on, they bought amplifiers to slit the speakers especially. That was back in the fifties. Wikipedia has it different. "In 1960, a Nashville session musician, Grady Martin, accidentally stumbled upon the fuzz sound during a recording session for Marty Robbins' "Don't Worry 'Bout Me", due to a faulty guitar amplifier. [citation needed] The fault was soon reproduced by an electronic circuit, which was first marketed as the Model FZ-1 under the "Fuzz Tone" brand name. [citation needed]". The citation needed means, they're not sure about the facts! There's even racism in the history.

After The Ventures recorded a hit called 2,000 Pound Bee things progressed from there. Who do you think all the Brit acts were listening to? They were all somewhere between high school and college listening to this stuff comin' from the underbelly of America. The Brit war-babies were listening to a new sound. It was called race music. That's how the programming heads labeled it. If you were Black and you made a record, it was a race record. The "Boomers" were in high school and college during the time of the war-baby underground, leadership and following the drumbeat that the twenty-something war babies were sounding out. Hendrix, Page, Harrison, Clapton, Richards, Waters, all their contemporaries were listening to the likes of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, James Brown as teenagers and young adults. It was "their" fuck you to the establishment message. These and all their contemporaries are where all the sounds sprang from. Had it not been for the Black sound comin' from Chicago and the Deep South in the juke joints, there would be NO Rock and Roll. It was the marketing talent from New York City, Nashville, London, and the copy cats in LA that commercialized it.

It's all opinion, right? Well who had the best fuzz toned guitar playing? How much was that fuzz box turned up, eh? Your tastes is what decides that. By the time 72 rolled around the fuzz processor had become as used as microphones! Later on the fuzz boxes were so turned up, that kids just decided to scream into microphones with complaining bad lyrics, rather than actually sing. Hello punk. And the music writers? In order to keep their jobs, they coined genre after genre. That way, they could pander their bullshit to a new crowd of willing dolts previously having acquired said writers, bad taste. Name the magazine, it doesn't matter, they all had bad music writers with bad taste. Radio was and still is just a whore-honcho. Genres sprang up as a result of the brand of fuzz any respective style niche had chosen as their main fuzz sound.

Metal was commercialized, over processed, ridiculously distorted, bad taste in guitar driven song writing. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and others didn't call their music metal, they called it Rock. It was the music writers that perverted the market with their descriptions. Without the Fuzz Box, Metal would not exist. 3 generations of teenagers worshipping their guitar gods in front of bedroom mirrors all across the world dreaming of the day they can take their best rock stance and hold forth on a 200 foot proscenium stage.

Processor platforms (effects boxes) were hard fought battles in the music equipment market. Lots of good little footswitches out there! Millions of musicians all over the world been using them for the last forty eight years. Keyboards and synthesizers helped fill out the field of weird and unusual sounds. But the best arrangements and production techniques had all been established within a few watershed albums, from watershed bands. The Rock Hall of Fame, though necessary to some degree, we guess, is for the most part, a joke.

A sound which became known by the writers as progressive rock included, in the beginning, everything from Zep, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd to the Beatles. The Rolling Stones weren't good enough to be included. What hailed from the American side were bands and producers that did not have the arrangement skill to match what the Brits were doing. For the most part American Bands were outclassed. For a run of about five years, everyone was waiting to hear what new direction The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Zep and Clapton were going in. They're the ones that sounded out the main grooves going forward. The Grateful Dead? They were their own thing altogether. So were the Beach Boys! And the American contemporaries? There were only a few that could make it through as immortal Like Dylan, The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, The Doors, Santana, Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. An uncomfortable nod also goes out to Creedence Clearwater Revival (it's a matter of taste, yeah) and Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen, well most might agree that The Boss, is still THE BOSS! As for the Soul/Funk/R&B scene...Stax & Motown and all their artists ruled the day and were their own completely defined major niche!

Major records labels are such whores and these days, pretty bad businessmen too. So are the radio stations, including the ones on satellite. Both industries in full locked march step collusion, did their level worst past the year of 1974 while producers fucked up the listen-ability of the recordings being released and then aired them to death. The programming had become a deadening drone of crap commercialized pop which masqueraded as Rock worth listening to. The best era of rock ended as abruptly as it began and theeeeeeeeennnnn...a wasteland of bad recordings from Disco, Punk, Industrial, Post Metal modernistic cacophony and such. Anemic singles became the new storm to dominate the market for the next 32 years. It was sad to watch and hear. "Video killed the radio star!" How true...how true. M TV...oh, the pain of it all! And video message content sucked right along with it. Hey marketing departments!...KISS OUR ENTIRE ASS! Pieces of it still loom large in today's new offerings from all the imitators called to some sense of their own benign inspirations and largely forgettable attempts at creating an epic piece of work. How many bands can try to sound like Metallica anyway? And why would you want to? Shit, what a waste of time. Yet 3 generations of teens grew up on banging their heads together while they deliberately attempted to go deaf. They were already blind at birth. They never had a chance. "Teenage Wasteland...THEY'RE ALL WASTED!" What came first, Eddy Van Halen or the egg?

Glimmers of great rock came through once in a while during the eighties and a few spots of light in the 90's, all the while a 20 plus some odd year wave of thug rap and songs of ghetto ego, whoring and drugs became another bill of faire. For years upon unendurable years, a modge-podge of self indulgent spewdum stunk up the air. Air pollution. Radio pollution, more to the point! Commercial backtrack pollution. 4 generations of teenagers were being taught bad taste in the name of being cool!

And what was the biggest problem for all this time?...a lowered standard of dialing in the sounds which were processing an instruments natural noise. Everything was being done in excess and when that was all over, around 94, a wave of almost total abstinence from processors prevailed for the next 13 years. The organic sound ala "grunge" and all the rest, was the rage and remnants of that are again, prevalent presently. Dance music has been on a planetoid of it's own since that Travolta flick. And Steve Dahl was right to blow up all those disco records in the middle of Comiskey Park's central field back in '78! We must admit, sad as it is, disco (aka dance music) had and still has it's role in our conscience! God help us all!

Well tomorrow waits for no one. And yesterday fades away. Thank God Saturday Night Live is getting somewhat better again. Can you believe that they lampooned ten year olds doing boilermakers for an Elliot Spitzer slur-bit? Oh bitch, PLEEZ!

Well all you Jam-Babies out there...Bittersweet's here to sound out THE new groove. In other words, if it's HIP you'll hear us play it...if it's not in the mix, it's just regrettable and forgettable! Though we are counting on ya'll to steer us towards something truly great! Tell us about it! We'd rather not deal with the gobs of young musings which won't see the light of day six weeks after it's released, right? Not ready for Late Night TV? Perhaps we'll never have to live through another era of Bon Jovi. Who's that you say, Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus? America's music industry has been relegated to a four minute sound byte that looks cool when you're singing it into a mirror. Yet, it is slowly beginning to recover. Yes, it will recover!

"There's an app for that!" Ain't that right, Apple Corporation? Bye-Bye DRM...hello rip-off! Dig it youngers, remember what we say...What's Hip Today, Might become passe'!

My name is Brian Sidler and I write about music, et al.


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