Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It don't mean a thing...

...if it ain't got that swing.

This is one of those posts that laments the greatness of times past and the decline of today's youth culture.

Only this time I have a legitimate point.

Who swings in today's popular music world? Who's got that bouncy, off-beat rhythm that gets your fingers snapping, your body movin', and makes your soul want to dance? Where are those riffs and counterpoints? Where's that backbeat and behind-the-beat drumming? Where's that breezy attitude? Where's the SWING??

And I'm not really talking about Duke Ellington or Glenn Miller jazz. My preferred genre - blues/rock - can swing just like jazz, and Charlie Watts is the Master of rock swing. Keith Richards once stated for the record: "White drummers don't swing, except for Charlie Watts."

Chuck Berry played swing. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, not a swing band, played it brilliantly in "Sultans of Swing." (I saw him last weekend at the Greek in Berkeley). Brian Setzer, formerly of the Stray Cats, plays swing. Funk and cajun music, brilliantly performed by the Neville Brothers, swings.

But what contemporary artists are swingers? Not rap artists, not classic rock artists, not alternative grunge artists - no. All of their beats are manufactured drum loops and snare drums that sound like explosions.

David Matthews sometimes comes close, but he's too caught up with a band that has to rush the groove. Country music doesn't swing too much these days, unless you're listening to Alison Krauss & Union Station.

You've got to have a great drummer to swing. Classic rock greats (John Densmore of the Doors, Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revival) all had the jazz/swing sensibility that made the music take-off. Today's backbeats are manufactured by machines and just don't have the feel.

So my question remains: Where's the SWING? and what is this generation missing?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

If they have the video...

...of these two hapless terrorists who failed in their attempt at martyrdom, would it have any impact in de-glorifying the act in the minds of young, extremist Muslims?

These two scenes as described by eyewitnesses strike me as so pathetic and humiliating, perhaps replaying the events, assuming they were caught on tape, might shake some who are disposed to follow in their footsteps out of the grip of their brainwashing.

From the Sun:

“I turned round and there was a man lying with his arms outstretched on top
of a rucksack face up. “I went up to him and said: ‘Are you all right,
mate?’ But he just ignored me and kept his eyes shut.

“I looked back and saw him stand up looking disorientated and confused. He
walked to the back of the carriage, leaving the bag and his cap on the floor,
and I could see some copper wire showing out of the back of his T-shirt.

“He opened the emergency exit door and jumped down on to the tracks and
started walking away down the line heading west.”


Also from the Sun:

“There was this loud bang, I can’t describe it. Then there was a lot of
smoke coming from the bag.”

But the bomber remained where he was and DENIED he was
responsible.

“By now the bag was on the floor and he kept saying, ‘No, it’s not me, it’s
not me’. He was standing there all on his own in the middle of the carriage with
smoke coming from his backpack.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Quote of the Week

I've tried to avoid commenting on the London attacks. What is there left to say about the civilizational conflict that is ongoing, but which societal norms prohibit us from dealing with directly? And that has been said better by Hitchens and Steyn.

But this quote caught my eye. From the BBC:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said: "It is a huge fallacy to
suppose that one community is somehow more intrinsically prone to violence or
outrage than any another."
Past Archbishops of Canterbury have a long history of speaking nonsense, and the job description requires candidates to personify a twit, with a capital T, so this one is no exception.

But it does win the Quote of the Week.