Tired of all this new music bullshit? Like, things only just start to get good and all of a sudden innovators start to make the wrong decisions. It's beginning now with Le Tigre, who are collaborating with Paris Hilton on an upcoming release. I'm not sure why they're doing this, but it's idiotic from any angle. Whether it's appropriation, shock value or just plain old selling out doesn't matter, since it's a severley uninspiring career move. It's cheap and laughable, and nowhere near as comendable as Sleater-Kinney's change in direction, which actually takes a serious risk isolating them from their audience. Whether it's good or not depends on what kind of a fan you are of Sleater-Kinney, but in Le Tigre's case, no amount of Kathleen Hanna's university savvy dialect can save them from absolute ridicule. Let's remember, this is the bitch that kicked the shit out of Courtney Love backstage at Lollapalooza! And now she's shacking up with Paris? Jesus. No one can possibly enjoy such a collaboration without being incredibly boneheaded. Le Tigre have already gained a new but totally boring and late-for-the-boat audience by dropping their music into a car commercial, but why this Hilton shit? They've got every college kid yelling "Who took the bomb!" What are they after? Ten year old girls?
Yes, it's true, Paris Hilton's biggest fans (other than mddle American males) are young girls. I happened to pass upon her promo stunt at Much Music for House of Wax a few weeks back, and out of strange curiosity I figured I'd see what this girl was all about. Maybe she had something intelligent to say, or some quirkiness that could justify her ridiculous behaviour. But no, it was crass and lowly, and had about as much sophistication as a children's birthday party. When they asked her what her favourite movie was (a true gem of a question from the brilliant audience), she proclaimed proudly, "House of Wax is my favourite movie!" And what happens? A few hundred sluttily dressed, dangerously jailbaity young girls cheered her on like she was Lady Madonna at a passion play. Sad, sad, sad.
So it's all the more fitting that this past week that I've been able to take my mind off the more tragic aspects of the decline of modern music by indulging in The Best of Playboy After Dark, a bootleg collection of musical performances from Hugh Hefner's rockin' 60s late night television show. Nothing is more divine than the opening numbers, featuring a medley performance from Smokey Robinson in the middle of a luau. All leid out, his band lay it down slow and soft with hand drums, flutes and creamy pianos, closing the set with quite possibly the best live rendition of "The Tracks of My Tears".
The Grateful Dead feed the audience acid (watch for the young bunny who gets "lost in the music") and alternate between their folk grandeurisms and sudden freak outs. Deep Purple sing the lines of "Hush" as their skinny 60's face peek through bouffant hairdos that would make a mobster's wife jealous. Of course, there are some moments that reek of the cheese, like the early-video effects cut that establishes a lip-syncing Iron Butterfly in a teleportal behind a paitining in Hef's study. But the dancing crowd, whi twirl and twist to the shuffle of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"looks amazing! Their movements are so expansive that "poof!" you're all of all of a sudden inside the screen dancing with them in some silly costume that found its way to your body during the timewarp. I've never seen anything like it on TV.
More standouts include: the epic psychadelic Christian rock of The Cowsill family, who prove the supremacy of gospel music even in its white interpretations; the Dead's uplifting "St. Stephen"; and an energetic, young Linda Ronstadt singing "I'm Walking Down a Line" "back when she still looked attractive" as my roommate Jay likes to say.
Over all, the video compitaltion gives you access to some fantastic television music performances that would otherwise have gone unremembered. For further effect, you get the cutaways to the dancers and house guests, all of them swingers who stole the fire from the hippies and the swank from the 50s to make the perfect party mix of style and outrageousness. The "dancing on the stairs" scene during Grand Funk Railroad's shirtless rock party speaks volumes to this culure of sex and good times.
This is thw way music used to be. Celebrities would invite you onto their shows, but you didn't need to invite them into your band just justify your existence.
And with that comment, I leave you with the (once) beautiful Linda, one more time...
THAT'S SOME HOT SHIT!
SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES - The Tracks of My Tears
Apologies for the lack of a show this past week, but I was shooting a film in and around Waterdown for the weekend. It was quite hectic but it's all over and I'm ready to get back to the music. Tune in this week (Friday at Noon ET on CIUT 89.5fm in Toronto, for new music from Edmonton.