Welcome back to the fourth installment of It's The End of the Week as We Know It
! Crazy how I've been writing this thing for a month already; weeks are really flying by. Thanks to everyone who continues to read this thing, really. Anyway, this week obviously had more news mention of Megatallica
, which comes to no surprise of course. Honestly, I'm anxiously waiting for the week with zero mention of either band in the headlines, but that week may coincide with a zombie apocalypse.
I'm in a bit of a contemplative mood as I write this. Although this isn't exactly considered music news, you're probably aware that Jackass
star Ryan Dunn died in a car accident
earlier this week. In a way, it seems relevant to the music world because of Jackass's CKY connection and their popularity on MTV in the early 2000's. During my time in middle school, watching Ryan Dunn, Bam Margera and Johnny Knoxville act like idiots on TV seemed to go hand in hand with the alternative and punk rock music we dug at the time. Skateboarding, listening NOFX, watching Jackass and actually acting like jackasses was a daily occurrence for my friends and I; one of the more nostalgic memories of the awkward preteen years.
But another the reason I'm also struck by this news is because of where the accident took place on a road I used to drive on frequently. Bam, Dunn and their posse all lived in West Chester, Pennsylvania, the town I grew up in. With few public figures around those parts of suburban PA, those dudes were our celebrities and seemed like rock stars. It wasn't rare to see Bam and his crew at a local skatepark or Phil and April Margera strolling downtown. So yeah, definitely sucks to hear about this.
Although it's always sad to hear about someone young passing away, based on the public's reaction, many people didn't seem surprised that this happened. It was reported that Ryan Dunn was intoxicated and speeding over 100 miles per hour when he crashed his Porsche. In a way, he died the same way he led his career: recklessly. By performing stunts that sensible people would walk away from, the Jackass guys rose to fame by living life dangerously, seemingly blind to consequence. It's sad to see Ryan Dunn go, but he's not the first public figure that met his demise amidst a fast-paced, over-the-top celebrity lifestyle. Thinking about the role that excess plays in entertainment and music (and on a less serious note) I'm drawn to the following Top 3 news stories.
Top 3 Stories
Amy Winehouse Just Can't Get Her Sh-t Together
Now, even as I write this, I'm wondering why I would bother mentioning Amy Winehouse, a singer who I never particularly cared for and am only aware of through her addictive reputation. Come to think of it, her media presence seems to solely revolve around her drug and alcohol addictions and apparent reluctance to get clean...it's almost like she doesn't want to go to rehab or something. Although she has (or had) a powerful voice, she can't seem to kick the habit and progress as a musician. If it wasn't for her antics, who knows if she would have reached the level of success she achieved or stayed relevant in the media?
Obviously, I can't comment on serious drug addition because it's not my territory, but the media's fascination with substance abuse in the entertainment industry keeps troubled celebrities famous long after what made them famous in the first place is a distant memory and even a joke. It's almost a requisite for declining actors and musicians to flash their nether regions when they get out of limousines. Look out for the inevitable Brett Michaels crotch shot on TMZ when his career starts tanking.
Be it in music, or celebrity pop culture in general, we (well, maybe not us, but the masses) crave and need to see train wrecks. The Lindsay Lohans of the world make the media go round, and become even more famous as a result of their addictions and resulting bizarre behaviors. Thus, the horrific Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. Drugs are bad kids, mmmkay? But speaking of drugs
77 Phish Concert Goers Arrested at North Carolina Show
Drugs go hand in hand with live shows. Hell, when I manage to go to metal shows, it's an unspoken rule that everyone I go with must get absolutely hammered to soak up everything that is loud and amazing about seeing a live band. Although I've never been into jam bands or taken LSD, I can understand the appeal of drug use at these types of shows, probably because Phish without drugs would be extremely boring. Sure, the cops were just doing their jobs, but why it's perfectly legal to sell alcohol at rock concerts so morons can start fights, but chill hippies can't trip balls while listening to Phish, is beyond me.
I don't want to advocate or encourage drug use at shows, but anyone who has attended a concert under the influence of anything knows how incredible live music can seem when your pleasure sensors are amplified. Next to listening to a great record, seeing your favorite bands live is an almost holy experience, better than movies, sporting events, sex (okay, not sex) and if people choose to partake in a little mind-altering substance, what's the harm? To the officers who arrested 77 (!) people at the show: just let the Phish phans enjoy their concert and maybe, I dunno, arrest people who are actually committing harmful crimes. When was the last time someone at a Phish show stabbed someone or brought a gun to the venue? Meh, authority figures will always be there to make us turn down the volume. So lame, we're just trying to have a good tiiiime mannnn.
C'mon Guys, Stop Recording Live Performances
Because Apple is trying to take over the world like Pinky and the Brain, this story described a technology in the works that will prohibit smart phone users from video recording performances during live concerts. The main purpose is to discourage bootlegging, but regardless, it's interesting how when one technology progresses, another one is soon invented to regulate what the first one can do. The quality of cell phone cameras are now TOO good, so lets waste money and create a prohibitory technology that will lessen the concert-going experience. Nice. Soon, you won't be able to capture your favorite guitar player's extended solo because a little infra-red device doesn't want you to.
Obviously, this sort of thing won't be out for a while, and it will most likely only affect large venues that feature top-notch musical acts, but the Big Brother approach is worrisome because who knows what's next? A robot apocalypse probably.
One Last Opinionated Note:
New Radiohead Song
Really digging "Staircase." Fresh off the release of "The King of Limbs," this song is a flowing jam that actually seems more in the "In Rainbows" melodic vein than the recent abstract looped approach Radiohead is taking. I need to listen to the "The King of Limbs" more for it to fully sink in, but their dynamically static drumming style and bass grooving are more atmospheric than ever and eerily pleasant to listen to.
Reactions to new Radiohead releases are always lukewarm, but after a few years, each album becomes a work of art. People seem to either side with Radiohead's more classic Brit-rock sound or their contemporary experimental phase. Both styles are sick. Radiohead rose to prominence because they were the epitome of 90's Brit-rock and gained international success for it. They also were great pushing the boundaries of alternative electronic music and consistently evolved from album to album, always keeping their essence, but being fearless in their pursuit of quality musical experimentation.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch some Dr. Drew, bootleg the next Incubus concert and bring some shrooms to the show. Not to take any, just to see if I get away with it. See you next week.
On the next It's The End of the Week as We Know It:
After the success of Rob Zombie's Woolite detergent commercial, Zombie puts his directorial spin on Valtrex, Sunny D and Empire Carpet promos.
Mike Mangini, already tired of his role in Dream Theater, wants to join the Adrenaline Mob.
Limp Bizkit reveal that the "Gold Cobra" album is all a joke and release a "jazz-odyssey" record.
By Zach Pino