Lee Harvey Blotto called me a geezer.
I should be deeply insulted, but I’m not.
Actually, he didn’t exactly call ME specifically a geezer. But in his weekly Metroland column Rapp on This, in his guise as mild-mannered intellectual property attorney Paul Rapp – which you should read every week if you care about music and the changing technology, Paul wrote:
You don’t need 75 minutes of music from every artist you take a fancy to. You probably don’t need more than a song or two. And you certainly don’t need the idiotic “jewel case” or a shiny plastic disc or a glossy little book you’ll maybe look at once, if you can get it out of the idiotic jewel case without trashing it. All you need is a digital file, that you can put on a hard drive somewhere, stick on a gizmo that you can put in your pocket, and maybe burn onto a CD with 15 or 20 of your other favorite songs by different artists.
If this all sounds foreign or scary to you, it’s time to wake up. This has been the future for a long time.
But, gee, I LIKE that little book, and I look at it almost every time. Who wrote that song? Who are the backup vocalists, the producer, the guest musicians? Maybe it’s just me, the librarian who has a NEED TO KNOW, and will regret the loss of that information.
My band, Blotto, had its first CD go out of print recently. We’re selling nicely on iTunes and about 20 other (and lesser) online music sites. I seriously considered just not reprinting any more CDs – why deal with the expense, the hassle, the shipping, the shelf-space and the goddamned jewel-boxes? But I realized that, well, we’re talking about a collection of 25-year-old music here, with prospective purchasers who – how can I say this delicately? – tend to trend to an older demographic? Many Blottophiles, I suspect, aren’t yet completely hep to that crazy digital scene, daddy-o. So, it’s probably a good idea for us keep the CDs available, at least for now, and we will.
But if we had a geezer-free fan base, I don’t think we’d bother. Kids don’t care about CDs anymore. Why should they?
Having had to TRACK down the Blotto CD only a couple years ago (I had all the music except for the live and karaoke versions of “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard” on vinyl already), I appreciate his point. The tunes will be available, but will one know the names of the members of the band? Or does that no longer matter? It’s not my geezerosity that’s kicking in, it’s my librarianship.
I taped the 6-7 a.m. hour of MTV’s first day, hoping to see Paul, who I run into occassionally, and his fellow Blottos in “Lifeguard”, but alas, it was not on. I DID see THREE performances from The Concert from Kampuchea, Sister Disco by the Who, Paul McCartney’s Rockestra doing Lucille, and Little Sister as performed by Rockpile with Robert Plant on vocals. I have the album on vinyl; makes me want to go listen to it again. VH-1 mislabeled Queen’s animated Calling All Girls as You Better You Bet by the Who, but a couple songs later, I saw the actual Who cut. The real find for me was Tomorrow Night by Shoes, a song I had all but forgotten, but really liked; a second Shoes song, Cruel You, was less engaging. I love the song Fashion by David Bowie, but the video seemed, dare I say it, pretentious; or maybe, it was just so 1980. My favorite cut was Stevie Nicks, not always my favorite performer, but her Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around with Petty, done simply, worked for me. I watched MTV early on, but none of these cuts were, “OH, Yeah, I remember that,” like those Robert Palmer videos with the bored models; instead we get the more moody John and Mary.