Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Stealing...What Exactly?

I love Scott Ian, but he's going to have a hard time convincing me of the integrity of this argument:
There is no argument. I'm not even going to get into that conversation. You're stealing! It's stealing, that's what it is. It's not free for us to make these records. These records are on sale in many, many places where you can pay your money to buy the product that we are selling. Anything outside of that is stealing. There is no conversation to be had. There's no, "Well, I just wanted to check it out, and then I liked it so I bought the record." I don't give a fuck. It's stealing. Everyone can say that, "I just wanted to check it out," or "There's no way for me to get music where I live." That's bullshit. It's fucking bullshit! I've been doing this for way too long. I sold records in the '80s and '90s before there was an Internet, and no one seemed to have a problem going out and buying a shit ton of records back then. The whole record industry has collapsed because people are stealing. That's the end of the story.
Actually, the whole record industry has collapsed because the market has determined that the product they are selling is not worth very much. This whole time, musicians seem to have convinced themselves that their product was their music.

Not so. Their product was their brand, and the most valuable thing about it was the packaging. Thanks to technology and changing social attitudes, the packaging of music just isn't as valuable as it used to be. Absent the packaging, what are you getting exactly? A copy of a recording, and it's not even a true copy. It's a copy made up of little slices of the original sound, and your ear is so dumb it can't tell the difference.

You want me to pay you for that? Well, alright...but don't expect very much for it.

The Sparrow

I haven't listened to Mastodon's new record enough to give a detailed review, but I like it. I like the fact that it's not a concept album. I like the fact that it's heavy and musical. I've already had the chorus of "The Curl of the Burl" burrowing in my ear a few times, and I like the fact that there's a song called "All the Heavy Lifting."

But I really, really like this solo from "The Sparrow." It's got a slow-burning intensity that's as patient as it is deliberate. Great stuff.
(PS. I made this video myself and it provided me the dangerous notion that I need to clutter up Youtube with others just like it.)


I also really, really like this verse from "The Curl of the Burl."
I killed a man cuz he killed my goat
I put my hands around his throat
He tried to reason with the sky and the clouds
But it didn't matter cuz they can't hear a sound
Now that may seem silly at first glance, but once you consider that all of Mastodon's lyrics inhabit a literary world that is not exactly our own, it has a certain poetry to it.

He tried to reason with the sky and the clouds...

Yeah, that's tight.

Going Out of Style

America's worst sheriff, birther. Seriously, Maricopa County, do you want this guy to be your sheriff? This guy?

With his fixation on illegal immigrants of Mexican origin and his continuing birtherism, the guy's a borderline racist. Great if you're white and have no morals, but does Maricopa County wish to make us think they're a bunch of white people with no morals?

Snow Day

It snowed all night last night. This morning, the roads were a mess. I pulled off into a King Soopers parking lot and took the fucking bus. (It was just like old times.*) I was twenty minutes late, but it could have been worse. A co-worker slammed into a curb, broke a tie rod, and never made it in.

* It was very similar to this, actually...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grapes of Wrath

I went to a production of Grapes of Wrath at the Vintage Theater this afternoon. I read the book several years ago and was blown away, particularly with the character of Reverend Jim Casy. I guess I identified with his loss of faith and his subsequent struggle to find moral clarity.

He was played by a guy that looked like Bruce Willis in the play, but the character was watered down a bit to make room for all the other goings on, which including a full-on four-square number. (Hey, it's theater.) I liked the play. But I liked the book so much more.

And it's with thoughts of the book (and the play, hell, even the movie and the Springsteen song) in my head that I scan the headlines and read this one:
Michele Bachmann Wouldn't Do 'Anything' To Help Children Of Undocumented Immigrants
In the article, she says:
"We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country. We don't owe them anything."
There's a whole context about government benefits that quote comes from, so I don't want to distort her point.

But contrary to the Bachmann's all-encompassing "anything," there are a few a things that we owe them. Among them is the right to be treated like a human being.