Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Dr.Dog continues to impress me, while Relix continues to sour me on the East Coast music scene in general. What was once an essential music magazine has left it's entire purpose to be rediscovered down the line by the tired, yet ambitious music journalists that, as far as I can tell, have yet to emerge to report on the great West Coast psyche rock scene of yesterday and today. Until then, we get The Flaming Lips, or String Cheese Incident gracing the cover of this bastardized, in name only, once great publication. Phish? Not again, please! Ben Harper? Are you serious? Is it still 1992? All of this nonsense, this serious lack of taste, arrived with the term "Jam Band."
Relix used to be innovative in so many ways. They relied on fan participation for starters, utilizing found artwork, photos, and reviews, all of which were able to avoid looking like more corporate shit and actually convey feeling to someone willing to take a minute and absorb the publication he or she was handling. Recycled papers and Soy inks were another amazing feature in terms of being true to the righteous cause, regardless of how lackluster a B/W magazine might seem to the cheesy masses. Then, a few years after Jerry died and appeared to take the scene with him, the ownership sold the publication to some East Coast wankers who proceeded to devote it's attention to crappy East Coast "Jam Bands" such as Phish, Blues Traveler, and the best of the second-rate bunch, Widespread Panic. No more David Nelson, Hot Tuna, or legitimate extended GD family. No more cool west coast band that isn't getting the exposure anywhere else. No more reports on whatever crazy festival is happening in whatever crazy West Coast truck stop town in the north. Lot's of full color, full page adds bought by fully bonded and insured corporate NYC promoters, however, and I'll bet MOE made the cover more than a few times, probably on the issue that should have been devoted to Zero (RIP)
Seeing as how the scene has continued to move away from the goals, ideas, and style of it's West Coast originators, I guess I can't blame the Relix people for selling out and disappearing. I mean, once the marketing term "Jam Band" took hold only a fool couldn't see the writing on the wall. Still, it sure would be nice to know whats going on back out west. I guess it's somewhere on the internet. And while I'm happy to see Dr. Dog getting a front cover on a national publication, I have to wonder "what type of assholes are going to overrun their shows from now on?" and I'm not talking about their existing, condescending, elitist, dad's money/ twenty something hipster who knows a guy in Philly crowd, either. Those people will come around someday. I mean the truly behind the times, waiting for it to be okay to like a band, alcoholic spectator crowd that can't deem a live show to be worthwhile until it costs fifty bucks and requires a day off from work to able to witness. Do I, a guy in Pittsburgh where Dr. Dog has had NO draw, need to go buy my tickets in advance?
I started reading the article, a cliche ode to reluctant stardom, until I had to throw it down in disgust over the commentary on Converse All-Stars, as if they where at some point not cool. I have news for all you good people, rockers and otherwise; Converse All-Stars have been and will remain one of the all-time great pair of kicks, no matter how over priced they are. The old Relix would not tell you how to dress. And am I to believe that Relix is providing me with a news flash by reminding me that they are the first national press to feature the band on a cover? Well, they are, even though Rolling Stone has been dry humping Dr. Dog in print and online for the last three years. Dr. Dog just might be ready to explode, but Relix is waaaaay down on the list of people in the know, and believe me, if the band does blow up, Relix will be the main perpetrator inundating the world with too much coverage of the too many copycat Philly bands that really aren't quite so good.
Dr. Dog's "Fate" will be released on July 22nd, and if it's anything like the previous recordings, will be well worth the purchase price. Relix Issue #whatever will be out soon enough to provide further argument for online music publications killing print media entirely.