Music, Slo-Man

Of Mice and Exorcists

Robert Johnson's studio portrait, circa 1935—o...
Image via Wikipedia

Readers who took the time to read through the Slo-Man’s rant about the publicity given to a teenager with an over-indulgent mother and slightly-better-than-average-karaoke talent and those who know the Slo-Man will know that he likes his music, indeed, many have labeled him a music snob.

The Class of 27, which may be said to have been founded in 1938 by the Faustian Mr Johnson, includes the incandescent Mr Hendrix, the brooding and death-obsessed Mr Morrison and the lonely and committed Ms Joplin, so is not lacking in talent, skill and musicianship. These are careers that were brief but long lasting, searing stars themselves scorched by the flames of total commitment and substance abuse.

On a day when the annual celebration for and by the music industry was marked by the loss of yet another talent to substance abuse, the Slo-Man was struck by the incongruity of the recognition given to a member convicted for physical assault of another (female) member.

It can be argued that personal peccadilloes and crimes have nothing to do with musical ability and that these awards recognize their professional expertise not the conduct of their personal lives.

The Slo-Man has long admired the skill of some musicians with known and well documented issues with substance abuse, in fact, the members of Class of 27 are rated high on his list of talented musicians. It is also true that the personal habits of these people must have hurt those around them, sometimes physically. However, that nagging feeling refuses to leave the Slo-Man; he is forced to assume that his feelings are coloured by the fact that the member’s output fails to strike a chord with him. To put it pithily, the Slo-Man does not like Mr Brown’s music and therefore is less inclined to be forgiving, which only goes to prove that the Slo-Man is human and therefore a mass of conflicting emotions.

The Slo-Man would like to say a few words about the Grammys. For an award show, there was precious little focus on the awards. The presenters ran through the nominees at breakneck speed and it seemed that hardly any awards were seen to be presented. Humor was notably absent, giving way to clichéd introductions. The bulk of the evening was devoted to performances, one of which was overly long, overly boring, overly pretentious and clearly trying to overly shock the audience. Clearly, the Slo-Man was not at all impressed by exorcists, devils. And mice, dead or alive, he can do without.

At the end of the day, the biggest winner was a singer with genuine talent, who has no need to “perform” with physical innuendoes and carefully and suggestively choreographed dance moves.

And while he is not particularly a Nirvana or Foo Fighters fan, Mr Grohl’s acceptance speech was the highlight of the Slo-Man’s Grammys 2012. When music comes from the heart rather than the checkbook of the corporate bean counter, it is more likely to be music that will last long beyond the memory of the next decade of early teens. Mr Johnson “only” had a guitar and a voice, yet he is cited as an influence by musicians today, nearly 75 years after his death. Will Ms Minaj and that Mouse, when he is really dead, leave behind a lasting legacy?

Check back in 75 years….


4 thoughts on “Of Mice and Exorcists”

  1. liked “When music comes from the heart rather than the checkbook of the corporate bean counter, it is more likely to be music that will last long beyond the memory of the next decade of early teens. “


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