Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Radio is dead.

Yeah, like we all didn't know that. I forgot that I had my clock set to radio for some mad reason and not Ipod, and heard the most god-awful tripe the last two mornings. How sad. The choices offered the public narrow more and more each year as Clear Channel, and its ilk goggle up stations and dictate what is allowed airplay.

When I was a teacher my kids would come downstairs into my art room and when they were well-behaved, we would wind up discussing music. This was mostly afterschool projects with gifted students, i.e. the art club. They would get me to put on CD's that they were curious about. I introduced some of them to Elvis Costello and Nirvana, and The Cult. One kid told me he found out about The Who because of CSI. They were only eleven and twelve but I was horrified that their initial exposure to many of the Golden Gods of Rock, and Rap, and New Wave, and Alternative, and Reggae. I had to explain what Ska was, and that Gwen Stefani did not invent it. I had to inform them that Rick James was so much more than the SuperFreak, I'm Rick James, bitch guy. They were unaware that Rap did not begin with Biggie. The only student of mine who knew all of this stuff...his father and favorite aunt were in the music industry.

We're going backwards. If we weren't bands like The Mars Volta would be household names.

This is my friend Tad's band, East Village Pharmacy. I went to see them first out of curiosity and wound up loving the originality of the show. They are playing again at the end of the month. Reggae, Ska, and Reggaeton from a band from Minnesota.

You can check them out.



M. said...

I think you don't quite realize how absolutely ignorant most kids are when it comes to music until something decent plays on the radio. They're just jamming along, doing the "Supaman", and then Tom Petty comes on and they just look at you, dumbfounded like a bunch of fucking monkeys trying to re-produce Hamlet.

I'm terribly thankful that I'm doing the whole art-school thing now, because at every other school I've been, to the musical main attraction was mostly Japanese pop music that they heard on their favorite anime or whatever was currently playing on the radio. Now, one of my favorite teachers is a former ska guitarist and most everyone knows who the Libertines are. (Even though they can't exactly say why or how Pete Doherty is still alive)

I definitely agree. We are going backwards. I just really hope that one day someone will say, "What are we doing?" and shift things back into gear again.

Fifth Generation Leftist said...

Hi M,

I really enjoy your blog.
Kids were ignorant when I was your age too. The corporate monopoly of what we were allowed to hear was beginning then. I remember in my little snooty prep school people acting like I was insane for listening to bands from places like Ireland! I'm talking U2 pre-Joshua Tree and Elvis Costello, and the Pogues. I'll never forget the comment from an upperclassman-woman. It was an all-female academy. " Ireland? What ? There's no music coming out of Ireland!"
This dummy and her clique seemed to think that everyone on MTV was American, or English. Nobody else made music the world liked. One thing the world never runs shortages on is dumbasses.

I agree, art school IS the place to expand listening horizons.