Saturday, July 5, 2008


There was a time in Bill’s life when he was transitioning out of a stint in the military into the roll of a start-up businessman. I had learned in college that the guy playing the musical instrument had a huge advantage when competing for women and subsequently learned to sing and play guitar.

These skills helped pay the bills during the transition period. We really had a good band. It was me, a bass player who had been dismissed from the Marshall Tucker Band, and another very good guitar player whose claim to fame was doing some studio work with Elvin Bishop and penning a song about the seduction of a woman who had passed out on the carpet.

I bailed people out of jail, spent time in criminal court, had my equipment confiscated by the DEA, and had a knife pulled on me. The musical career ended when the owner of the Chinese Restaurant sold my PA system to some migrant Mexican onion pickers to help make ends meet. I eventually got the money back. The life-lessons of playing lounges have been very valuable to me since.

Which brings us to the state of modern music. When we were doing our thing ten years ago, the old guys didn’t want to hear Turn the Page or Peaceful Easy Feeling; they wanted to hear Silver Wings or Sit Here and Drink (songs I subsequently learned to love). Whenever I do some cross-country driving, I try to listen to the new music coming out.

At the risk of sounding like the old guys from a decade ago, it sucks. But I think that it may suck in a different way. Seger, and the Eagles, and the Dead, and even Nirvana had perspectives on life that they expressed through their music. Just like the musicians who preceded them on the stage. It seems to me that most modern popular music centers around sensory pleasure from sex acts. That and simple rage.*

I see the state of American music as a symptom of the status of our democracy.

*I heard one song from Coldplay and they may be an exception. The song seemed to include complex rage. I intend to purchase their CD and review it.

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