Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hard To Argue With That

Posted by on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Music producer Tony Visconti in the NYTMag:

Rock ’n’ roll is like Dixieland jazz now. It’s an old art form.

He goes on to say that hip-hop is showing its age too. Which it is—unlike, say, musical theater. Which, like Ms. Channing, is ageless.


Comments (32) RSS

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T 1
Ok, ok, I'll get off your lawn.
Posted by T on April 2, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
dan. shut the fuck up.
Posted by tim koch on April 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
Maybe it just needs a facelift. And a butt lift. And a hair transplant. And reading glasses. And adult diapers. Oh, fuck it, I need a nap.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on April 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 4
In that interview he also says "once people get rich doing what they do, they get conservative." Not for nothing is Andrew Lloyd Webber - the average Joe's idea of a musical theater icon - worth over a billion dollars.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on April 2, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
1917-1955 = thirty-eight years (that's the ODJB to Elvis)
1955-2013 = fifty-eight years (Elvis to today)

I'd say Tony is understating things.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on April 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Addison DeWitt has the best lines in the history of cinema.
Posted by East Coast Douglas on April 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 7
johnny rotten said as much 35 years ago. yet it appears that rock and roll will never die.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 2, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
LEE. 8
Dan, you and Tony both realize that rock n' roll isn't some myopic construct, right? the same could be said about hip-hop. both are just schools of art that are open to endless interpretation. it helps when the young and young at heart make contributions.
Posted by LEE. on April 2, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
--MC 9
It's a clean old hat, to use Howard Devoto's thirty-odd year old phrase. All new rock bands should wear leather jackets and Chuck Traynor tennis shoes and play Pearl Jam covers.
Posted by --MC on April 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
biffp 10
Punk rock is bullshit.
Posted by biffp on April 2, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
"Ageless" is a polite word for dead, right
Posted by eptified on April 2, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
lark 13
That's an interesting comment coming from one of Rock n' Roll's finest producers, Tony Visconti. He's an American who produced some of the finest English rock bands/musicians, T. Rex & Davis Bowie among others during the early to mid 70s.

I think he has a point. I've gone from listening to hard core punk rock to alt rock to now, jazz, Americana and country. When I listen to KEXP except for the specialty shows I just don't "hear" Rock n' Roll as I know it. Of course, my favorite band is the Stooges. Tough act to follow. Still, Rock n' Roll has really changed.
Posted by lark on April 2, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
smajor82 14
@10 - kind of like your attitude about it?
Posted by smajor82 on April 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
seandr 15
@LEE: both are just schools of art that are open to endless interpretation

I used to think so, too, but the past decade suggests otherwise. If you define rock as variations on the basic guitars-drums-bass-vocals configuration, nothing especially surprising or fresh has come out in years. The format is not without limits, and it's starting to seem like all the interesting limits have been tested.

You could just as well argue that Dixieland jazz has endless interpretations, and in a sense, you'd be correct, but I don't think anyone's holding their breath for a jazz record that taps some huge, previously undiscovered vein of unique and thrilling ideas.

Even live rock performances are mostly just a melange of cliches now, with performers recycling moves, gestures, and rituals that date back almost half a century.

That's not to say there's nothing enjoyable coming out of rock, but there definitely isn't anything that rises to the level of freshness or cultural significance as, say, Nirvana's Nevermind. I doubt we'll see anything like that again.
Posted by seandr on April 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Dougsf 16
One of my favorite producers of all time, but that's not why I think he's right. As far as most people are concerned, rock IS dead, and that's the good news. Now, like jazz and a handful of other great things, it can be played by, and enjoyed by, people that actually give a flying fuck. I'll be happy to Weekend at Bernie's rock's corpse for the rest of my life.

In an even weirder turn of events, what charts on the "rock/pop" charts is basically Broadway music, with guitar. Heard the band Fun? That garbage is WAY more Lion King soundtrack than Little Richard. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE SINGING AT ONCE?!

Also, the hiphop charts took a dump the day someone decided to add r&b vocals for a chorus. I think business people call that synergy. ft. crossover, ft. "but it has to be, like, a SONG, right?" ft.... you get the idea.
Posted by Dougsf on April 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Zebes 17
A guy somewhere is passing judgment on the value of various entertainment mediums!

How vile!
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on April 2, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
Clearly there was a big shift in music in the 40's (Big Band sound), and clearly another one happened, say, around Buddy Holley and Elvis. Pretty much everthing that has happened since is related to that 1950's era shift. Not a bad run. But we may be due for something else.
Posted by Clayton on April 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Fortunate 19
As a musician I find the bickering about music almost humorous. Almost.

I listen to what I like. I play what I like. I also play what people pay me to at times, even if I think it sucks. But so long as they enjoy it that's fine.

People act like there are these clearly defined lines between different genre's of music that can easily be stamped with a particular label.

But Duke Ellington summed it up best: "There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind."

I don't like genres. I like music. I won't limit myself because someone labels a piece of music with some genre name, and I won't subject myself to crap because of it either.
Posted by Fortunate on April 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this

When I was 13 in 1973 and listening to rock (sans the "classic" label) I didn't also put on Rudy Vallee songs and dance the Charleston.

Yet driving past the local high school I saw a pickup truck with a Led Zeppelin decal right next to ones for more contemporary bands.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Posted by care bear on April 2, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
biffp 22
@14, more like writing an article about it in the Seattle Weekly to draw attention to what could have been a promising musical career if you weren't such a douche to your bandmates. It was meant as a joke about John Roderick's 'essay' a couple weeks ago. http://www.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2013…

If you actually have an interest in rock n' roll or music writing, Never Mind The Pollacks is a hilarious and creative book.
Posted by biffp on April 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM · Report this
biffp 23
@21, you are awesome. The funniest thing I've seen in weeks.
Posted by biffp on April 2, 2013 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Fnarf 24
@18, the Big Band sound dates pretty precisely from 1935, not the 1940s -- it was played out by the end of the war, when the bands couldn't get work, and couldn't afford to take the whole band if they did. That's one of the big driving forces behind the R&B/jump blues sound that turned into rock'n'roll -- again, a bit earlier than you suggest. The "40s sound" in jazz is really be-bop, and cu-bop, plus the real explosion of the Hit Parade sound, singers like Frank Sinatra who took off in the 40s. Rock'n'roll really is the intersection of that kind of pop with the wilder R&B sounds, as well as country -- your Buddy Holly was playing country more than he was black R&B.

You also left out the big shift that happened with The Beatles, and the other one shortly after when the folkies heard The Beatles and invented folk-rock (or, just as accurately, when the producer-pop cheese merchants heard folk and married it with what they were doing -- the first folk-rock song was "Needles and Pins" by Jackie DeShannon, written by Phil Spector's acolytes Sonny Bono (pre-Cher) and Jack Nitzsche), which was the dominant kind of pop sound for the remainder of the 60s and well into the 70s until its deracinated form was blown away by punk.

So you've missed at least a half dozen "big shifts" right there, and I haven't even gotten started.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on April 2, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Estey 25
Really enjoyed recently reading Visconti's "Bowie, Bolan, and the Brooklyn Boy." The amount of creative energy and innovative technological know-how he put into producing albums like Scary Monsters & Super Creeps makes him seem like some sort of super-specialist in an artform few of us even realize exists. Makes me wish I would have spent years studying more about producers and people behind the soundboards and what they do than all the familiar sagas of bands and their usually well-assisted releases. Came out in 2007, highly recommend it.
Posted by Estey on April 2, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
LEE. 27

between that admittedly exaggerated statement and the one that followed it about youth, which do you honestly think I'm more married to?
Posted by LEE. on April 2, 2013 at 5:57 PM · Report this
blip 28
I am genuinely perplexed by these kinds of statements. I suppose if you define rock and roll as a bunch of longhairs with guitars then yeah, that was old 20 years ago. But there are so many deviations from that format that have developed and crossed over and and back again over the years it's difficult to see where one genre ends and another one begins anymore, but it is still rock and roll at its core. When you cling to a narrow definition that was probably outdated within a decade or 2 of it's inception it's not rock and roll that's "old," it's you.
Posted by blip on April 2, 2013 at 6:14 PM · Report this
and here I thought it was going to be THIS more musical MS. CHANNING:

(forward to 2:30)

Posted by WoodyBear on April 2, 2013 at 6:22 PM · Report this
fletc3her 30
That's why I only listen to ambient dark wave glitch.
Posted by fletc3her on April 2, 2013 at 8:26 PM · Report this
Whatever Ms Channing might be, ageless isn't it. Good Gravy Lorraine.
Posted by vennominon on April 2, 2013 at 8:29 PM · Report this
lolorhone 32
Whining about the death of [insert whatever genre of music] is a fairly good sign you have allowed yourself to get ornery and set in your ways- which is my nice way of saying old and crotchety. My neighbor is 78 years old and still goes to the record store every Tuesday and finds new shit he enjoys. Listen with open ears before you write the obituary. There's always something worth getting excited about.
Posted by lolorhone on April 2, 2013 at 11:25 PM · Report this
Sorry about the Ms. Channing link. Here it is again, skip to 2:30....

Posted by WoodyBear on April 3, 2013 at 3:46 AM · Report this
@ 12 - Dan wasn't talking about Carol Channing. Bette Davis plays a character named Margo Channing in All About Eve.

@ 33 - "This video does not exist."
Posted by MiscKitty on April 3, 2013 at 7:28 AM · Report this

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