Out & About
It may be true that rock critics are a bunch of failed musicians. I wouldn't know, because the prospect of career musicianship (turned sour for me around Suzuki Book Four, thanks) seems equally depressing as growing old writing record reviews. There's a difference between a successful musician and a career one, and it has nothing to do with talent. Usually, but not always, it has to do with how interesting you are. Dr. Dre is a career musician; Eminem, hopefully, is not. Weird Al is a career musican; Atom and His Package are not. Carole King: Career Musician. Debbie Harry, nope. Louise Post, Nina Gordon: career musicians. Le Tigre: definitely not. Blake Schwarzenbach, you are not a career musician. Please fade into obscurity before you hire another string section.This fall, Cave In, a Boston band who's put out a few damn good records, released an album that made their aspirations for a future full of Music Videos, Guitar Techs, and K-Tel compilations achingly clear. Overproduced, regurgitated modern metal-rock, Jupiter is an attempt to cash in on a) their previous fanbase, b) the kind of people who open records in the record store to check for colored vinyl, and c) fans of Modest Mouse. In a way, I wish them luck; there's nothing wrong with wanting to live off being a musician, and there is certainly nothing wrong with making money off of stupid college kids, but there comes a point where it gets kind of embarrassing to be so earnest about it.
If Cave In does as well as they'd like, in 15 years or so, they'll be doing what the Bangles are doing now. Females are less inclined to pursue career musicianship or career rock journalism, not because they're genetically unable to do so, but because most girls know better. It's good that the more inane professional she-rockers stick around, just to remind us, although Susanna Hoffs and company are much better qualified, and probably better off, playing to fogies on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and in places like Caravan of Dreams than they are for teaching school or designing software. Needless to say, I hope I don't face another 30 years of writing about it.
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