Life, Cheese Whiz, and the Blues Universe

Dan Gross gross@EKSIGNAL.KODAK.COM
Wed Mar 9 12:31:25 EST 1994


        Well, work has afforded me about five minutes with which I can eat
lunch and respond to my E-mail.  Since current topics on the blues list
that I've been meaning to respond to have choked up my mailbox as of late,
I figured I'd respond to these first.

        First there's the "King Guitar" deal.  To pick nits with LW, in
sports they usually retire the number, not the jersey.  This to me would
be the equivalent of retiring the make and model of guitar (in other words,
produce no more flying V's).  I get the point, but the analogy didn't quite
cut it...Anyway, I have to admit I kinda sit on the fence as far as what to
do with the guitars, but I am against the "private collector" concept.  If
you're going to own a Master's #1, play it or donate it to a museum, don't
hoard it.  I also feel that you don't need to iconify every guitar a person's
used.  Put "Lucy" in a museum, and let the Kid have the newer, custom guitar.

        Speaking of which, there's also the "worthiness" deal.  To me, the
blues is about raw feelings, good, bad, love, lust...As a musical form, the
blues is one of the easiest to learn how to play, but one of the toughest to
play "properly."  As far as being able to feel goes, I don't necessarily think
that the ability to emote is directly proportional to the feelings you've felt.
Everybody has their own temperment, and while experience will shape it, it is
always more the person than the situation.  I've known people who've had
decent lives who are bitter over a couple of minor (in a global perspective)
incidents (some over no discernable reason whatsoever).  I've seen people who
are seemingly unaffected by major traumas.  Some people are only emotive in
certain ways, or only emote in certain ways.  They might take it out on their
families, themselves, inanimate objects, whatever.  My point I guess is just
because someone may not have had time to experience traumatic incidents does
not necessarily make that person incapable of emotion, and of conveying that
emotion.

        Next on the docket is the "Blues lite" phenomenon: the 'watering-down'
(some say deterioration, or degradation) of blues to make it more consumable
to the general public.  This happens in all aspects of society where some sense
of "taste" is involved.  Franchises build on mass appeal, and you don't get
that with "pure genres."  The House of Blues to me is like an ethnic restaurant
chain: you go there knowing it's not the pure stuff, but also certain that
it won't be too "hot" to be palatable.  If it ain't "hot" enough for ya, you
know there's smaller, local places that do it right.  In any case, this means
more people going to "blues" shows, more artists covering older tunes, which
(ideally) leads to more royalty checks for the people who originally wrote
the stuff, and perhaps even "re-discovery" of some of them.  (Of course,
one thing I DON'T appreciate is performers who are ignorant of the source
behind what they do, like the band I saw this last weekend, who called
"Rock Me Baby" a Johnny Winter tune and "One Way Out" an Allman Brothers
tune...ARGH!)  The same goes for "Blues-Rock" performers, and "popular" people
who promote the blues (like EC and Dan Akroyd) who try to use their popularity
to promote the blues.  Eric Clapton could have went up onstage and whistled
"Dixie" for an hour during his _Unplugged_ performance and it would have sold
a bazillion copies, but he played a lot of blues tunes.  The plot line to the
_Blues_Brothers_ would not have been corrupted significantly by the abscence
of some of the blues  and R & B greats, but Belushi and Ackroyd put them in
there.

        Anyway, I know that I said a few things here that others have said,
but I guess I had to give my view (since I wasn't asked for it :-)  On an
unrelated note, the current _Rolling_Rag_ magazine has an article on
Willie Dixon's "Blues Heaven" Foundation's successful purchase of the Chess
building (as Paul mentioned...).  Money is now being solicited for the
renovation of it, with an address listed.  If you all are interested, lemme
know, and I'll try to remember to bring the magazine in to post the address.
Well, my five minutes are more than up....back to work...Comments, flames, etc
to gross@eksignal.kodak.com...

                                                --Dan


--
Dan Gross, Programmer By Day:  Drummer/Vocalist By Night:
  Veredus Products Division       Stoney Lonesome Blues Band
  Eastman Kodak (716) 726-7831    Home: (716) 757-9071
  gross@eksignal.kodak.com        Kodak doesn't even WANT my opinion...




More information about the Blues-l mailing list